World Archery Suspends Archery Association of India
The World Archery on Thursday, 8 August, suspended the Archery Association of India for defying its guidelines by electing two parallel bodies, asking the federation to put its house in order by the end of this month.
The decision is effective from 12 August and the last event in which the archers can participate under the Indian flag is the World Archery Youth Championships in Madrid from 19-25 August.
"World Archery is implementing the decision taken in June by suspending the Archery Association of India," World Archery secretary general Tom Dielen said in a statement, accessed by PTI.
Terming it unfortunate, the factions led by Union tribal minister Arjun Munda and retired IAS officer BVP Rao kept fighting but promised to work in the interest of the archers with less than a year to go for the Tokyo Olympics.
The AAI had to find a solution by the end of July as per the deadline given WA's executive board and since no progress has been made, the world governing body implemented the suspension order.
Since a court judgement is expected on the dispute, the AAI had requested the WA to give it a few more days but it was turned down. Interestingly, suspension order has come a day before court hearing on the issue.
Olympic quota places will be up for grabs at the Asian Championships and Asian Para Championships, to be held in Bangkok in November.
India so far have three men's places secured for the next Olympics but has yet to win a women's spot.
"At the same time, World Archery will also decide whether individual athletes can participate in the Indoor Archery World Series." Tournaments on the Indoor Archery World Series, held from November-February, are open to all athletes rather than just the national teams. But archers must be a member of a national federation in good standing to register.
In two separate elections, held simultaneously on 9 June in New Delhi and Chandigarh, AAI elected two presidents – Arjun Munda and BVP Rao, despite the World Archery sending its vice-president Kazi Uddin Ahmed Chapol as mediator to bring the two factions together.
While Munda had support of 20 state associations, 10 state bodies backed Rao.
Rao was earlier elected in 2018, ending the era of Prof Vijay Kumar Malhotra since 1973, but he had to quit after the Supreme Court gave a ruling for fresh elections and set aside the AAI constitution as amended by Delhi High Court-appointed administrator S Y Quraishi.
Meanwhile, both the factions have termed the suspension "unfortunate and disappointing".
Claiming that they had done nothing wrong in the election process which followed the Supreme Court directives, Munda said: "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." He further said the order came despite their repetitive requests to the World Archery not to take any rash action against the AAI until the court passes its judgement.
"I am confident that the issue is likely to be resolved once the court pronounces its final verdict. Meanwhile, all our efforts would be made to protect the rights of our archers and to get the suspension revoked as soon as possible," Munda said.
Rao said he tried his best to stall the suspension which was initiated by IOA when he was elected president in December 2018.
"Since then I've been doing my best to see that Indian archery team does not suffer. But other side seems not bothered at all. We will still try to do our best so that the athletes do not suffer. That's our priority. I'm really worried about the fate of women's team for the Asian Championship as they are yet to qualify for the Olympics," Rao said.
"It is a black day for Indian Archery, and Mr Malhotra is responsible for this situation... He still wants to control AAI," the Rao-led body said in a statement.
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) is conducting trials in Sonepat and set to announce the squads for the Asian Championships on Friday, even as the archers remained clueless.
"Nothing is happening for us for last eight years. There has been no planning whatsoever. First, we were told that this will be for the Asian Championships and now after reaching here we were told that they are picking the squad for the Olympics as well," a senior archer said from Sonepat.
"Many senior archers have failed to come for the trials, so does it mean that they would miss out on the Olympics selection? There has been no planning whatsoever." The WA had earlier suspended the Polish Archery Federation, its member association in Poland, under similar circumstances in October last year but only to lift it in February this year.
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