NEW DELHI: The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has written a letter to Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) asking for para powerlifter Sakina Khatun’s inclusion in the Indian contingent to represent the country at the Commonwealth Games 2018 in the Gold Coast, Australia.
The move comes a day after Khatun, who was snubbed for the CWG, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting his intervention in the same.
Khatun, who is the only Indian para-athlete to clinch a medal at the Commonwealth Games - bronze in lightweight category in Glasgow - till date, was ignored during the selection of the contingent for the prestigious games.
The 28-year-old's axing from the Indian contingent for the Games came despite the athlete meeting the eligibility criteria as marked by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).
In a letter to CGF Chief Executive David Grevemberg CBE, IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta has asked the CGF to resolve the issue so that Khatun could participate in the upcoming Games.
Mehta also emphasized that Khatun has qualified for the Gold Coast CWG according to qualification standards while adding that the parent international body has also confirmed the same.
“I am writing to you to resolve an important matter regarding athlete allocation in the sport of Powerlifting in 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Sakina Khatun, Indian powerlifter (W), in lightweight category (SDMS ID 15584) has qualified for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, according to the norms in the Athlete Allocation System. Her IPC Ranking is 8' position and ranks in Asia,” Mehta said.
The IOA Secretary General further informed that the powerlifting athlete allocation for India, in the letter sent by the CGF on December 18 last year, mentioned only three players – Sachin Chaudhary in the heavyweight (above 61kg category), Farman Basha and Ashok in the lightweight category (up to 72kg).
He added that the confirmation letter did not include the name of Sakina Khatun.
“The omission of Sakina Khatun was taken-up by the Paralympic Committee of India with the IPC. The IPC confirm that she is eligible for qualification. The IOA seek your assistance with regard to Sakina Khatun's qualification in 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. We sincerely hope it is only a clerical error and there is some way for us to resolve her qualification issue and sports entry at the earliest,” Mehta said.
Earlier, Khatun, who was struck down by polio when she was just one-and-a-half years old, had mentioned in her letter to PM Modi that she meets the eligibility criteria needed for the Games while adding that she is striving to win another medal for the country.
The para-powerlifter had further said PM Modi that she had repeatedly requested the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) for the inclusion of her name in the CWG, but nothing had happened in the matter so far.
Khatun, therefore, had urged PM Modi to push for her entry for the Games, which is slated to be held from April 4 and will run till April 15.
Meanwhile, Khatun had earlier also threatened that she would commit suicide in front of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) if her name was not considered for the Games.
Khatun had told ANI, "I am still waiting for my name to feature in the list. I will fight till the last and if then also my name is not included, then I will move to court because they have spoiled my life. I will not leave it, even If I have to commit suicide in front of IOA."