Final list of players for Asian Games must be released soon

Names of all players were finalised by July 15 except wrestling, which was sent on July 23, but the sports ministry and SAI have not cleared them so far.
The Asian Games 2023, shifted from 2022 to 2023 due to COVID-19, will be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 23 to October 8, 2023. (Photo | Twitter)
The Asian Games 2023, shifted from 2022 to 2023 due to COVID-19, will be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 23 to October 8, 2023. (Photo | Twitter)

CHENNAI: With just over a month left for the Asian Games to begin, the sports ministry and the Sports Authority of India are yet to clear names of players for the quadrennial event slated from September 23 to October 9. Though the ministry has made a concession for football and sanctioned 15 teams including basketball and volleyball, the players' lists are yet to be finalised.

Though some players and coaches are certain they will make it to the team, there are some who are yet not sure. This has its own drawback. The names of all players have been finalised by July 15 (the last date to send the entry by name to the organising committee) except wrestling, which was sent on July 23 (as an exception case). It has been over three weeks but the ministry and the SAI have not cleared the names. Or at least the list is still not released. It is already late.

The delay in the release of names is causing quite a bit of concern among non-priority sports because the authorities are not sure whether the names will be cleared at cost to the government or not. Recently the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago was cleared at no cost to the government and the Indian Olympic Association had to take care of the expenses. It needs to be seen if the IOA does the same in case some athletes are cleared in a similar fashion.

There is another concern among officials: whether the athletes or teams will meet government criteria. While some say that if concession has been given to football, exceptions should be made for individual players as well.

Take for instance gymnast Dipa Karmakar, who finished fourth in the 2016 Rio Olympics. She has topped the Asian Games trials in gymnastics and has requested the sports ministry to clear her name as an exception because she doesn’t meet sports ministry criteria. Even the Gymnastics Federation of India has requested them. Yet as of Tuesday, she is not sure if her request has been considered.

Certain sports like swimming have already reduced their numbers (women's team). There is pressure to reduce players in sports like rowing, fencing, and other non-priority sports. There are certain teams that would want to reach by September 5-6, well ahead of the Opening Ceremony on September 23. Some would want to reach at least more than a week ahead of their events. Like one coach pointed out athletes need to prepare mentally as well, especially closer to the Games.

Even the Indian Olympic Association should be requesting the ministry to release the names. For them, it is worrisome. The Ceremonial Kit tendering process itself was delayed and got over just a couple of days ago. Interestingly, the number of dresses that they have mentioned in the tender is 700 set for men and 300 for women. With barely a month left, getting the dresses ready might be touch and go. And also the playing kits for the athletes. They have to get the garments ready according to their sizes. That too requires time. Other logistics like ticketing, accommodation and others need to be taken care of by both the IOA and the ministry. Certain sports like sailing will need to transfer their equipment to China, which is again a tedious process and had faced issues last edition.

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The New Indian Express