The World Archery appointed Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra as an “independent person”, on Thursday, to oversee a selection panel which will select Indian archers for the upcoming World Youth Championship in August.
The global body of archery had delisted the Archery Association of India, on Wednesday, for unanimously electing two parallel bodies in Chandigarh and New Delhi. Also, the elections that took place in the AAI was not deemed valid and officers elected were not considered legal representatives by WA.
They gave India a deadline till July 31st as by then the Supreme Court is expected to give its verdict on the controversial elections of AAI before deciding whether to suspend the Indian body. For the time being, WA said that the Indian athletes will be allowed to participate in all the events till July.
The World Archery in their official statement said, “The board decided that Indian athletes would be permitted to compete at the fourth stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup in Berlin, the test event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the 2019 World Archery Youth Championships in Madrid.”
However, they strictly mentioned that the Indian entries will not be accepted if they are cleared by the existing selection committee of AAI. “Entries for the will only be accepted from a selection committee that includes representatives of the national sports ministry and Indian Olympic Association,” read the official statement.
Now, Bindra, India’s only individual gold medalist in Olympics, will be part of the selection panel, constructed by the WA itself. The panel, which also consists of IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta, and a representative of the Sports Ministry will pick India’s team till a new body is formed and takes charge. “World Archery have appointed an independent person who is Mr Bindra (sic) who is a highly respected athlete as you well know,” WA secretary general Tom Dielen wrote in a mail to Indian Olympic Association president Narinder Batra.
However, the Indian body is not happy with the ongoing actions taken by WA and said that their autonomy has been compromised. “The way World Archery is forming the Commission’s/Committee’s shows that World Archery is compromising with the Autonomy of the Archery Sports Body in India and why they are doing this is best known to them,” Batra wrote to Mehta and instructed him to interact with Dielen.
Condemning WA’s threat to suspend India if a solution is not reached by the Supreme Court on July 31st, the IOA President further said, “This kind of behaviour by World Archery by giving timeline is highly disrespectful and discourteous towards the Hon’ble Courts in India and World Archery be asked to refrain from showing disrespect to the judicial institutions in India.”