NEW DELHI: The Archery Association of India’s (AAI) initial plan of sending their A team for the first stage of the World Cup blew up in smoke after the athletes were turned back from the Delhi international airport ahead of their trip to Medellin. Post the incident, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra has come out and accused AAI chief BVP Rao of incompetence and blamed him for India’s no-show at the World Cup.
Rao has decided to launch a criminal defamation case against Batra for his “malicious intention” of causing “serious harm” to his reputation as an administrator. “Instead of speaking to me directly, lots of talks are going on behind my back. We have been trying to find an amicable solution to the problem since holding our elections. I do not think this is the way forward for the sport,” Rao said.
The archery federation is also deliberating whether to go ahead and sue KLM Royal Dutch airline for turning the archers away from their ticketing counter at the international airport. “The participants had confirmed tickets. It was their duty to take them to the destination. This has led to a loss of face for the AAI as well as India’s top archers,” Rao added.
He also revealed that AAI, SAI, sports ministry as well as ticketing partners Balmer and Lawrie tried to book alternate flights but because of the long Easter weekend, were unable to do so.
The body is also locked in talks regarding changing their stance on the teams for the next two stages. The initial plan was to send the A team for the first and third stages and the B team for the second. The plan was made in a way so as to send the top three archers to the World Championships straight from Antalya, Turkey (venue of World Cup Stage III).
It has been reliably learnt that all the top archers had requested the body to change the plan and send them for the next two stages instead of the B squad but the sports ministry might not look too favourably into the matter.
“We are thinking about sending the A team for the second stage. The only problem being very less time for processing visas and booking tickets. The bookings for the B team is already done. We do not want a repeat of the Medellin incident,” a top AAI official told this daily. Till late on Tuesday, the tweak in selection was not looking likely.
Selection trials for the World Championship and first three stages of the World Cup were conducted in Bhubaneswar back in March.