Confusion Galore: Asian Games Squads Give ‘Kabaddi Trials’ a Miss

Neither the men’s nor the women’s national team came for trials as the Court’s order was completely misinterpreted

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The NKFI had conducted their own trials in Bengaluru last month and selected the men’s and women’s squads.
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“When is the kabaddi match going to start? I work for the railways and arrived in the capital today morning and will be on my way back later in the evening. I heard that a kabaddi match, featuring India’s medal winners at the Asian Games, was going to take place so decided to spend my few hours in city here.”

This was Mr Sahoo’s enquiry that can easily qualify as the most asked question at the Indira Gandhi Stadium on Saturday morning. And kabaddi enthusiast Mr Sahoo wasn’t the only one, even the journalists at the stadium had the same thing in their mind.

Confusion took the centrestage at the kabaddi trials conducted by the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI), with a rival association's players turning up for a match, that was never scheduled, against the Indian squads, that participated at the recently concluded Asian Games in Indonesia.

Neither the men's nor the women's national team came for the trials as it came to light that a Delhi High Court's order dated August 2, was completely misinterpreted by the petitioners from the rival New Kabaddi Federation of India (NKFI).

The NKFI women’s squad at the Indira Gandhi Stadium.
The NKFI women’s squad at the Indira Gandhi Stadium.
(Photo: The Quint)

The NKFI had conducted their own trials in Bengaluru last month and selected the men's and women's squads with an eye on a trial match against the national teams that took part in the Asian Games.

But the Delhi High Court order clause 9 (i) stated: “The Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India -- respondent no. 4 shall conduct a selection process which shall commence from 15th September, 2018 at 11 am.”

This meant that there was no compulsion to any national teams to take part in the trial process.

When the petitioner's lawyer Bharat Nagar was asked that nowhere in the court order it is stated that senior India teams need to come for selection trials, he replied: "Well that's an interpretation. We will submit our prayer that we came for trials but Indian team didn't turn up."

When asked that since it was only mentioned trials, why did the players of the rebel body (NKFI), who got all kitted up, not compete against other aspirants, the advocate said: "But we had come here to play the national team."

It was a sorry sight for all those players whom NKFI had roped in promising a trial.

The NKFI men’s squad waiting at the Indira Gandhi Stadium.
The NKFI men’s squad waiting at the Indira Gandhi Stadium.
(Photo: The Quint)

As it eventually panned out the AKFI, following court orders, conducted an open trial where girls and boys from all age groups competed in front of observer Justice SP Garg.

There was only one AKFI office-bearer, assistant-secretary Deoraj Chaturvedi, who was present and he ran for cover when scribes asked him about the manner in which trials were being conducted.

"Why are the trials being conducted?" he was asked, and he replied: "I am only following the Honourable Court's Order," Chaturvedi replied.

When asked what exactly the Court order is, his answer was even more baffling.

"I don't know what the Court's order is. You people please read it," was his reply.

"Please leave me as I am a paid employee. My post is that of assistant secretary, but I am a salaried employee. My job was to get referees and look after arrangements and I have done that," Chaturvedi said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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