CHENNAI: WITH a little over 30 days to ensure that the Equestrian Federation of India (EFI) is continued to be recognised by the sports ministry, the EFI have sent a short letter as well as a two-page statement to the ministry. In the letter, a copy of which is with this daily, EFI have claimed that they want an exemption because of the ‘peculiar nature’ of the sport.
The letter, sent by president Lt Gen Gopal R to sports minister Kiren Rijiju, also said there is a non-availability of both riders and horses.
“It (EFI) has been getting the recognition of MYAS every year. However, post-implementation of NSDCI-2011 (National Sports Development Code of India), the recognition has been made conditional (...). Although EFI has been making an all-out effort to comply with NSDCI, the peculiar nature of this club-based sport has not enabled EFI to form the minimum required 24 state associations with 50% of district associations under them, due to non availability of both the equine athlete (horse) and humane athlete (rider in each district).”
It was a stance maintained by a high-ranking federation official when this newspaper got in touch to confirm the contents of the letter. “Yes, we sent such a letter a week ago (June 24),” the concerned official said. “We have a shortage of horses and riders so we cannot meet the guidelines of the sports code.”
The officer was also at pains to describe why few other sports might fall short of the guidelines. “They (sports ministry) want stuff like facilities for winter sports to be set up in places like Rajasthan. How is that even possible?”
That’s the other interesting thing that the letter has. The EFI has not only batted for itself but has called for the exemption of certain other sports as well. “Till such time the NSDCI is revised to accommodate sports discipline of such peculiar nature (equestrian, yachting, rowing, winter sports), the recognition of EFI by MYAS be continued.”
Interestingly, the ministry has given them ample time to modify their constitution. There are federations who feel ministry should not take this lightly and should treat them like any other federation.