With the Rio Olympics bound wrestlers set to commence their camp on Wednesday at Sonepat without star grappler Sushil Kumar, the director general of Sports Authority of India, Injeti Srinivas, said th
With the Rio Olympics bound wrestlers set to commence their camp on Wednesday at Sonepat without star grappler Sushil Kumar, the director general of Sports Authority of India, Injeti Srinivas, said the government would distance itself from the selection procedures.
During the World Championships last year, Narsingh Yadav qualified for the quadrennial event in the 74kg freestyle category. Sushil failed to make the cut and the Wrestling Federation of India omitted the 2012 London Olympics silver medallist from the camp.
“We are in constant touch with every wrestler, be it Sushil, Narsingh or (Rahul) Aware. I think that’s not something that we should play up too much. It is up to federation to decide who goes for the event,” said Srinivas at the SAI, Southern Centre on Monday.
Srinivas added that the government would not cross the ‘Laxman Rekha’ when it came to selection of athletes representing the country. “The National Sports Code states that the final responsibility to choose an athlete for an international event stays with the federation. And that’s a line the Government will never cross. A ‘Laxman Rekha’ the government cannot and will not cross,” he reiterated.
However, Srinivas said if Sushil’s omission from the camp was not explained by the federation, the government would question selectors. “If there’s inconsistency and you come across arbitrations, then they can be questioned. But unless there’s such a provocation, we will not want to involve ourselves,” he explained.
The national hockey squads — men and women — took time off from their training schedule to interact with Srinivas. Indian athletics coach Dr Nikolai Snesarev too had a lengthy discussion with the official on preparation for the Olympics.
Impressed with the rise in number making it to Rio from four years ago, Srinivas said, “Last time, the size of our contingent was 80. This time 110-120 may go. There is a growth. The number of disciplines we are qualifying from has also increased.”
Even participation among the para athletes contingent had witnessed a steady rise from 10 to 15 this year. “Honestly we’ve not had systems in place for para sport the way we have had for the Olympics. Again the type of budget may not be on par with other sports. But today cash awards for Olympics and para athletes are equal,” he concluded.
PTI adds, sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday ruled out any intervention in the Sushil Kumar vs Narsingh Yadav selection battle, saying that the matter is for the Wrestling Federation of India to decide.