CHENNAI: If the men’s and women’s kabaddi teams losing their iron grip on gold at Asian Games was the nadir, the sport has managed to find a new low within three weeks. Remember that selection trial match between the members of the Asiad teams and players selected by a rival association, which was slated for Saturday? That didn’t happen. Players selected by another kabaddi body, which was formed only in 2017, did a show of hands, changed into match gear, did some training, before waiting for their opponents to turn up. Seconds turned to minutes to a couple of hours, before the two teams walked away.
Interestingly enough, India internationals — some of whom are already with Pro Kabaddi League franchises ahead of the next season (October 5) — are unlikely to be in contempt of court because the Delhi High Court order is believed to have been misinterpreted by the New Kabaddi Federation of India (NKFI), the aforementioned faction. NKFI had selected two sides at a camp in Bengaluru last month after the Delhi High Court on August 2 asked Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) to conduct a selection process.
“The AKFI (respondent No 4) shall conduct a selection process which shall commence from 15th September, 2018 at 11 am,” the High Court order had stated. One AKFI insider, who wished to remain anonymous, told Express that there was no mention of any match in the order, so “there was no reason for our players to play”. Bharat Nagar, the petitioner’s lawyer, told PTI that it was a matter of interpretation. “We will submit our prayer that we came for trials, but Indian team didn’t turn up.” Curiously though, AKFI did have a “selection process” in front of observer (Retd) Justice SP Garg. At least that’s what an employee of AKFI told Express.
“I am not authorised to speak on this matter. But I can tell you that the selection process has been done. It was done before a retired judge (Garg), according to how they wanted us to do it. I cannot tell you more. I am just an employee of AKFI.” This “process” involved AKFI — the body affiliated with Sports Authority of India — holding trials where girls of different age groups took part. The HC had ordered the “process” after C Honnappa Gowda and S Rajarathinam, former internationals, had filed a petition alleging malpractice in the selection process for the Jakarta-bound teams.
What the court decides after Saturday’s farce is anybody’s guess. Meanwhile, this newspaper has learnt that AKFI did not bother informing the players about the match. “The order was open to interpretation, but we did not receive any formal calls from AKFI asking us to release our players for it,” a PKL franchise official said. Two other franchise teams confirmed the same. firstname.lastname@example.org