The country’s governing body of archery, Archery Association of India (AAI), has yet again been denied the right to be the host of Stage One of the Asia Cup, scheduled to be held at the Yamuna Sports Complex, New Delhi, from January 31 to February 5, by the sports ministry. AAI’s violation of sports code for more than four years is what made the ministry take this action.
According to the sports ministry, at present, the AAI is the only sports body which does not function as per government standards. A ministry official said that the AAI had been asked to revise their constitution and hold elections as per the sports code. They have been warned to maintain the status quo.
India had gained the right to organise the event after a bidding war of sorts against its potential competitor, Pakistan, during an Asian Archery Federation meeting in Bangkok in September 2016. However, the sports ministry did not budge, and this scuffle has become a large barricade for the AAI. The year 2015 too had similar kismet in store for the tournament. The AAI had been forced to cancel it. As stated by an AAI official, the reason for cancelling the tournament that year was because the majority of the top teams had opted out of the tournament. However this time, the AAI was expecting nearly a dozen teams to partake in the tournament.
The Asia Cup was an opportunity for archers to kick off the busy season ahead which also includes the World Championships. A senior AAI official said that powerhouses South Korea, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan and a few others had even initiated their visa process by asking for a sanction letter from the Indian government. Malaysia, Bhutan, Iraq, Iran and Bangladesh had already confirmed their participation by sending in the entry fees. A refund process will now have to be initiated.
Giving the reason of out of control circumstances, AAI’s Secretary General, Anil Kamineni, on Thursday, requested his counterparts at the Asian and world federations to postpone the event. An AAI official said that the tournament might be held during the month-long break between Asia Cup Stage two in March and World Cup Stage one in April. The selection trials which were to be held on the 27th and 28th of January have been put off to the last week of March. The AAI authorities now hope for the cooperation of the international federation.