India’s participation in Asian Taekwondo Championship hangs in the balance

The participation of Indian athletes in the Asian Taekwondo Championship in South Korea, scheduled to be held from June 22-25, is in limbo as World Taekwondo (WT) hasn’t accepted their entry yet.

WT has said that India Taekwondo is the only authorised body to send the entry but, following an order from the Delhi High Court, the 20-odd member team has already been selected by the Sports Authority of India.

Now, officials are waiting to hear from World Taekwondo, and if the world body refuses to entertain the SAI-selected team, Indian athletes may not be able to compete.

“Why should we suffer all the time for the infighting? The taekwondo athletes in India are made to dance to the tunes of different people all the time and at the end of the day, we are the ones sufferers,” said a senior athlete after being selected for the Indian team on condition of anonymity.

“If there is some problem between the India Taekwondo and the SAI and some other government organisations, the sports ministry should sort it out as soon as possible and let Indian athletes play and win medals for the country,” he added.

Another athlete mentioned how their future hangs in the balance.

“There are different power centres within the sport and even some people in the SAI to want to control things. In fact, we have nothing to do with all this, but please leave us alone and let us play freely,” she said.

The president of the country’s games governing body, India Taekwondo, Namdev, did not respond to our calls on Wednesday, but Sanjay Saraswat, the SAI executive director in charge of selecting the India team, told that Delhi HC has asked India Taekwondo to send the player’s list to the World Taekwondo as their entry.

“Since India Taekwondo has the rights for the GMS system as recognized by the World Taekwondo so they have been asked to send the entry, but there is no response so far from the world body” said Saraswat.

“We were authorized by the court to conduct selection trials so we formed a five-member committee and get it done accordingly,” he added.

He, however, said that ongoing dispute in the sporting body has been “affecting” the performance of the Indian athletes since 2014, and it’s high time for all the stakeholders to work collectively for the benefit of taekwondo and its exponents in the country.

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