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106 Indian athletes stranded at Delhi airport en route to Ashgabat for Asian Games
Central Asia | sport | 11:12, 14 September 2017 | 1128

AKIPRESS.COM - Indian Sports Ministry cleared the participation of a group of 106 athletes in the fifth Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, after their departure for the event had been in doubt due to procedural issues, The Hindu reports.

The participants in the disciplines of dance sports, ju jitsu, sambo, kurash, kick-boxing and traditional & belt wrestling had earlier found themselves stranded at the Delhi airport, unable to board their flight with the rest of the Indian contingent owing to the fact that they did not have the Sports Ministry’s clearance to represent India.

“These athletes couldn’t represent India because they don’t have the recognition from the Indian Olympic Association. The government was in a difficult spot because without official recognition [how could they have been cleared to represent India]?” a Sports Ministry source said.

However, an official from the Indian Olympic Association laid the blame squarely on the ministry. “The athletes had applied for clearance well in advance, and they had not made any request for funding for the trip either. I fail to understand why the government couldn’t have given them clearance when it does not even fund the trip.”

The IOA, on its part, had invited tenders to procure ceremonial, casual and performance kits for the Indian contingent which also includes athletes from the disciplines of athletics, cue sports, chess, cycling, tennis, tenpin bowling, swimming and wrestling.

The Sports Ministry official insisted that it was the IOA that was to be blamed. “We’d indicated to the IOA to give the Federations of these disciplines provisional recognition for the Games so that we could give them clearance. But the IOA sat on it,” he said.

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