NEW DELHI: Archery Association of India’s suspension by the world body was along expected lines. That it arrived a few days late was because of the non-availability of World Archery secretary general Tom Dielen.
Both factions have reacted to the news by blaming the other.
“It is a black day for Indian archery and VK Malhotra is responsible for this situation. He still wants to control AAI even after four decades through his henchmen like Virendra Sachdeva. Malhotra engineered an illegal election to get Sachdeva elected unanimously, who otherwise would have never got elected in a combined election,” secretary general of the Chandigarh faction Maha Singh said.
Arjun Munda, Union Tribal Minister as well as president of the Delhi faction termed the suspension as unfortunate and disappointing. He mentioned that they had done nothing wrong in the election process and were simply following Supreme Court directives.
“We are bound by the court directives and cannot violate the court orders on the issue which is still pending with the Hon’ble Delhi Court.”
The Sports Ministry has assured that they will try their best to ensure archers do not suffer. Archers are their top priority. Since the matter is sub-judice, both ministry and the Indian Olympic Association did not want to comment on the issue.
With the court hearing dragging on because of major issues like sports code, a quick resolution seems unlikely. The initial WA order had mentioned forming a transitory body which will include all stakeholders — representatives of both factions, IOA as well as the sports ministry. However, such a talk is yet to take place.
The women’s team are yet to achieve a Tokyo berth. With both the Asian Championship and Asian Para Championship in November, archers fear they will have to participate under WA flag. Quite a few archers have hit out at both factions.
“They are blaming each other but what about us? Who will listen to our pleas? Is this the way forward? Our jobs and promotions depend on our performance. Now what will happen when we participate as individuals? Who will speak up for us?” a prominent compound archer said.
To add to the confusion, The Sports Authority of India (SAI), which is conducting trials in Sonepat for the Asian Championships, announced five minutes prior to the start of recurve trials that these were also first Olympic trials.
“Many senior archers have not even managed to come here due to last-minute intimation. Is this fair? We are used to it but archers should not suffer like this all the time,” a top recurve archer revealed.
One of the national coaches even added that there were plans to shift the compound camp from Sonepat to Pune, where the recurve archers train.
“We are hearing these discussions after coming here. We do not have a problem but it would have been beneficial if we could have heard of it some time back so that everybody could have made arrangements.”