Equestrian team scrapped ahead of 2018 Jakarta Asian Games

As a shock to the entire Indian contingent, the Equestrian Federation of India has cancelled the selection of the eventing and show-jumping teams for the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games. The news came as a surprise from the Federation’s President Lt Gen Ashok Ambre on Tuesday, June 5th, a couple of days after the squad was finalised for the Asian Games.

Apparently, the entire team was banned from participating in the tournament as they do not fulfil the required criteria. The official letter by Lt Gen Ashok Ambre read,” In view of the fact that NO rider has met the criteria for any of the team or individual events, that is, eventing, show jumping and dressage, the selection of the team of eventing and jumping stands cancelled.”

As a matter of fact, the secretary general fo EFI had presented all the details to the selection committee through a powerpoint presentation. It was after going through those documents that the selection committee unanimously selected the team, in the presence of the President itself. If everything was according to the guidelines, where did everything go wrong?

The Federation’s President Lt Gen Ashok Ambre himself was in the aforementioned meeting as is described by the minutes and the discussion on Eventing Selection said, ” All the qualifying results achieved by the athletes were taken into consideration and even though only one rider had achieved 03 qualifications, the selection committee decided to select those athletes who have at least achieved 02 qualifying results as per the selection criteria keeping the interest of the sport and the medal winning prospects of the country”.

A similar standard was given to Show Jumping too.

The Equestrian Federation of India (EFI) had announced a seven-member team to compete in the Eventing and Show Jumping events for the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games beginning on August 18. Three-time Asian Games Bronze medallist Rajesh Pattu, Fouaad Mirza, Jitender Singh and Rakesh Kumar were all selected on the basis of their performances in the International and National events.

The Setalvad brothers, Keavan, Zahan and Chetan Reddy were shortlisted for the show jumping event. But a Dressage team could not be formed as none of the riders fulfilled the criteria which was stated by the secretary general of EFI, Col. RK Swain when the teams were announced a few days back.

With just two months left for the mega event to kick-start, it is really disappointing for the riders to be denied a possible berth at the Asian Games. Selection criterion should be verified before the final announcement of the squad, which was not the case here. These kinds of incidents have to be averted in the future as it might be detrimental to the development of sports in India!