8 days remain to finalise India's complete Asian Games contingent
While the decision on sending India's football teams is eagerly awaited, some other sports like karate and women's swimming could face the axe.
India is set to send its largest ever contingent to the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, later this year, but a lot of decisions need to be taken by the Indian government in collusion with Indian Olympic Association (IOA) by July 26.
The IOA, the umbrella body for all Olympic sports federations, has forwarded a list of nominations to the Hangzhou Asian Games Organising Committee (HAGOC) in all sports by the deadline of July 15.
Now, the ball is in the court of the Indian government's sports ministry, which will review the separate contingents, their chances of winning medals, and then withdraw some of the nominations sent by the IOC to the HAGOC.
July 26 is the last date to withdraw nominations. Following this date, a final list of contingents will have to be prepared. On July 27, there will be draws held in some of the sports for this year's Asiad, like in football.
As of now, there are around 800 athletes nominated in different sports. That list will be pruned down. For the Jakarta Asad in 2018, India had sent a contingent of 524 members in 36 sports disciplines.
Karate, basketball, women's swimming are just some of the disciplines which have sent entries to the HAGOC, but now need to wait on clearance from the sports ministry.
While sports like karate are set to suffer because of administrative problems, some disciplines - like women's swimming - could lose out because India do not stand a chance of winning medals.
The Sports Ministry had told member federations that "for team events, only those sports which have achieved a ranking up to eighth among participating countries of Asia in the last one year should be considered for participation in Asian Games." This is a continuation of their policy from the 2018 Asian Games.
However, the ministry's diktat has a clause allowing for exceptions to this rule: "Where, in the opinion of the experts of specific sports disciplines, and that of Sports Authority of India, participation of individuals and teams in relaxation of the above criteria (top 8) is recommended with justifiable reasons, the same will be considered in the Ministry for appropriate decision."