Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju is unhappy over the suspension of Archery Association of India (AAI) that forced Indian archers to compete under a neutral flag at the 2019 Asian Archery Championships held in Bangkok.
Archers Deepika Kumari won gold while Ankita Bhakat clinched silver from the event as they secured Olympic quota competing under the International Olympic Committee (IOC) flag.
Rijiju has urged the National Sports Associations (NSF) to sort their issues and avoid any scenario that leads to their suspension. “We don’t want our athletes to compete under neutral flag. The National Sports Federations must not do anything that leads to suspension,” Rijiju said on Thursday.
He said the government is willing to help all the federations in resolving their issues. “There should not be any factions. All the federations have to come together and we are willing to help all,” he said.
Rijiju was speaking after handing over national awards to wrestler Bajrang Punia (Khel Ratna), discuss thrower Tejinder Pal Singh Toor (Arjuna), his coach M S Dhillon (Dronacharya) and runner Mohammed Anas Yahia (Arjuna).
Wrestlers Bajrang and Toor had missed the National Sports Day ceremony in August as they were preparing for the World Wrestling Championships in September.
On India’s chances of winning medals at the Tokyo Olympics next year, the Minister said, “Since the day I took over, I have been meeting athletes and trying to help. We have record number of Olympic quota this time. We have world class athletes and a few are really strong contenders.”