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EFI selectors to meet soon to finalise the teams to go for Asian Games

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The Equestrian Federation of India (EFI) has decided to reconvene its selection committee meeting in New Delhi, this week to finalise the teams which will be competing in the Asian Games in Jakarta in August, 2018.

A day after the EFI had named the horse riders for two equestrian events at Asian Games 2018, that is, eventing and show jumping, it had cancelled their selection. The EFI president Ashok Ambre had then, said in a signed statement that the squad was cancelled because, “No rider has met the criteria for any of the team or individual events i.e. in eventing, show jumping and dressage.” As per a report in The Times of India earlier this month, the selection committee had clearly made a mistake in selecting the earlier squad and its previous decision got reversed. So, for almost a month now, a full-fledged controversy has been raging over the riders and horses. As per a report in Mail Today, EFI sources reported that they are having a rethink and want to look at the best choice of riders. For a long time, equestrian has stood on the high profile pedestal of an important and flashy sport in the Asian Games. Given that crores have been spent on preparations, there is a high probability of a definitive solution to be charted out in this week’s meeting at the Capital.

As per the report in Mail Today, it seems that there were some internal conflicts of thought and decision making within the EFI as the report said there existed two schools of thought initially within the EFI itself. While one segment of the EFI felt that the ASIAD could be dumped, the consensus now is that the selectors and all the people concerned with the EFI work towards selecting teams which have a realistic chance of winning medals. It is clear that the EFI is aware that they will need to specify the selection criteria as no retrial was possible.  So, one main trouble in EFI’s shoes is as to how it will convince the IOA on selection as they had earlier told the IOA as well as the Sports Ministry that there was “no medal chance”.

Now with the IOA working towards screening and sending only those teams which can win medals in the ASIAD, the Equestrian Federation had to put up a strong and valuable agenda for this week’s meeting. EFI being a federation which has a very strong Army presence, all that’s needed is  some good amount of diplomacy to engage smoothly and convincingly with regard to its reconvening decision in the upcoming meeting with the IOA President Narinder Batra and Secretary Rajiv Mehta. The EFI had told Mail Today on Tuesday, “We are very hopeful the outcome will be good.”

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