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With two federations at war, Indian taekwondo players lose hope of Asian Games

Top Indian taekwondo players are left without much hope for participation in the Asian Games as two factions of officials battle for their egos.

With two federations at war, Indian taekwondo players lose hope of Asian Games

Pritish Raj

Updated: 26 July 2023 3:30 PM GMT

New Delhi: Usually in combat sports, the fight goes in the arena or on the prescribed mat but what if there is a fight going on the sidelines and it affects the players without them participating in it?

A similar situation is going on in the administration of Taekwondo in India.

With Asian Games less than two months away, the top Indian taekwondo players are caught in the crossfire between officials of the Taekwondo Federation of India and India Taekwondo- the two bodies that claim to run the show of Taekwondo in the country.

War of two federations- Which one is real?

Indian sports administration is often a pandora's box and it is full of mysteries. In the case of Taekwondo, the situation is quite peculiar with both federations backing up their claim as the showrunner of Taekwondo.

Taekwondo Federation of India (TFI) is the recognized National Sports Federation (NSF) for Taekwondo in India by the Sports Ministry and Indian Olympic Association while the other body, India Taekwondo is recognized by World Taekwondo and Asian Taekwondo Union.

TFI was granted recognition by the Sports Ministry in March 2022 on the grounds of complying with the sports code, hence, IOA has asked TFI to conduct the selection trials for the 2023 Asian Games.

But the next problem is, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) in a letter dated 7th March 2023, has asked all the National Sports Federations (NSFs) recognized by International and Asian bodies to send the team for Asian Games.

A copy of the letter sent by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) stating that teams should be sent by NSF recognized by International and Asian bodies.

Now, in the current scenario, the Team selected by TFI can't be sent as OCA won't accept the team given TFI's non-affiliation with International and Asian Taekwondo bodies.

The other party India Taekwondo can't select a team as the Sports Ministry and Indian Olympic Association won't allow them to hold the selection trials for the same or they won't recognize that team.

Indian Taekwondo players cry for a miracle

While the federations and administrators continue their war sitting in the AC offices, nobody cares about the casualties- The players. Top Indian taekwondo players are left in limbo for no fault of their own.

"I don't know what to do in such a situation. Asian Games comes once in four years and this fight between egos or whatever you call it, is affecting us. All the taekwondo players live in uncertainty and don't know when what will happen," one of the players said on the condition of being anonymous.

The players and coaches gathered to meet the Indian Olympic Association president PT Usha at the Olympic Bhawan with their grievance but the meeting didn't yield any result.

"We are here since morning and after so much of wait, we get to meet the President of IOA but it meant nothing. One of the fellow parents cried also explaining their problems but she gave us an answer which any politician will give," one of the parents present there said.

The frustrations and anger among the parents and coaches were visible during the whole period of waiting and then not getting anything in return.

"Stop taekwondo in India. If this is the way we have to function, let's just stop everything. I don't know what IOA is for if they can't resolve the issue of the players," Another parent yelled, possibly after enduring scorching Delhi heat all day.

Players move to the Delhi High Court

The fate of the Taekwondo players lies in the hands of the Delhi High Court now.

In an order dated 19.07.2023, the Delhi High Court sought an explanation from the Indian Olympic Association about the status of players being sent to the Asian Games.

Responding to the petition filed by Indian players, High Court said," It is learned that India Taekwondo which is the competent body to select the Indian team, sent the names to the Union of India and the Indian Olympic Association, but the Indian Olympic Association has not sent any name to represent the country in the forthcoming Asian Games."

"Indian Olympic Association is directed to file an affidavit stating whether the team to represent the country in Taekwondo can still be sent for the Asian Games to be held in China," it stated further.

The court has listed the next hearing on 8th August 2023.

With no clarity on their chances at the Asian Games, the Indian players are hoping or rather crying for a miracle that is unlikely to reach the deaf ears of Indian sports administrators.

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