Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar has taken to social media to slam the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the Sports Ministry for their 'deafening silence' which includes not giving reasons behind her exclusion from the gymnastics squad for the upcoming Hangzhou Asian Games, calling it 'very demotivating and discouraging'.
Dipa, who gave Indian gymnastics a global spotlight with her fourth-place finish at the 2016 Rio Olympics, topped the trials conducted in Bhubaneswar on July 11 and 12 and was initially included in the Asian Games squad based on her performance in these trials.
However, she was subsequently omitted from the final list of the women's gymnastics squad for failing to meet the criteria set by the Sports Ministry for selection.
The Sports Ministry's criteria due to which Dipa's name was not present in the final list of gymnasts for Asiad, states: "In the individual events during the last twelve months prior to the commencement of the event, the performance of the sports persons should not be less than the performance achieved by 8th position holder of the 2018 Asian Games in measurable sports."
In Dipa's case, she had been plagued by injuries and a doping suspension and was unable to participate in any events over the past few years.
"On this #IndependenceDay, I am using my freedom of speech to discuss recent events that have proven to be very demotivating and discouraging. The #AsianGames2023, an event I have eagerly anticipated for the past two years, looks further than it is.
To my surprise, despite topping the national trials and meeting the @IndiaSports selection criteria, it appears that I will be deprived of the opportunity to participate in the @19thAGofficial," Dipa wrote on her social media.
"Worse still, the reasons behind this decision are unknown to me and have not been communicated officially. Instead, my fellow gymnasts and I are left to read about our exclusion from the Games in the news and I simply don’t know what to make of it.
The hard work and sacrifice that goes into preparing for major games is rarely appreciated and instead met with uncertainty and deafening silence from @Media_SAI and @IndiaSports. All I ask is for the selection criteria to be applied fairly and consistently across all sports..
And request that the correct information be conveyed to us so that we don't live in uncertainty. In the meanwhile, I owe it to my country to continue my training and I am hopeful that I will be joining @WeAreTeamIndia in Hangzhou next month. Jai hind! @PMOIndia @rashtrapatibhvn," she concluded.
The 30-year-old Karmakar herself reached out to the Sports Ministry, requesting to relax the eligibility criteria. Moreover, the Gymnastics Federation of India (GFI) had last week requested the sports ministry to consider the gymnast's case.
Notably, the Indian men's football team's participation for Asian Games was cleared by the Ministry despite not meeting the criteria after requests from AIFF officials, head coach and fans on social media.