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Over-age issue raises ugly head in AP

Over-age issue raises ugly head in AP
Highlights

Unethical practices seemingly haunt the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh (SAAP) in the upcoming Khelo India national competitions for Under-14 girls scheduled to be held at Narasaraopet in Guntur district from February 5 to 9

HARYANA CRIES FOUL; SAAP WITHDRAWS Kabaddi PLAYER

Vijayawada: Unethical practices seemingly haunt the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh (SAAP) in the upcoming Khelo India national competitions for Under-14 girls scheduled to be held at Narasaraopet in Guntur district from February 5 to 9. This stems from the miserable experience in the Under-14 national event held in Nellore district recently.

There is widespread criticism amid allegations that the Nellore event exposed some unsporting acts at the behest of administrators running the Sports of Authority of Andhra Pradesh (SAAP). The problem this time around is the eternal blot on Indian sport-fielding over-age players with an eye on podium finishes in premier age-group competitions.

The SAAP is accused of having roped in an over-age player in the Under-14 kabaddi event that was held from January 18 to 23. It sparked-off a volatile reaction and vociferous protests from Haryana, whose players reportedly sat on protest dharna for over two hours. Tempers ran high when the Haryana team management demanded SAAP to produce registration number, ID-Card and date of birth certificates of the player in question. The latter failed to oblige.

It is alleged that the particular player was part of the bronze-winning team in the Under-17 national competition! The Haryana players reportedly brought the issue to the notice of the higher-ups in New Delhi. Kho Kho and Wushu were other disciplines for which contests were held under the Khelo India banner.

It was only after the intervention of officials from the Union Sports Ministry that SAAP officials retracted and withdrew the player from the competition. Ironically, poetic justice was rendered when the host lost the grudge match to Haryana. Meanwhile, unperturbed by the controversy and the heat it had generated, and the bad reputation it had earned to the local organizers, SAAP officials selected an ‘ineligible’ player for the coveted national kabaddi event in clear violation of the rule book.

According to Rule 14.1 for individual events/games, players shall be selected on the basis of position secured right from the block level. However, SAAP selected a player for the upcoming event in Narasaraopet, who had come a cropper at the block level itself. A section of players, who missed the bus because of such excesses reportedly questioned SAAP for its `out-of-the-way’ decision by taking shelter under Rule 14.2, which delegates discretionary powers to the selection committees constituted for the purpose of short-listing selecting candidates at the block, district and state levels.

In yet another faux pas, urban players were reportedly denied entry under the pretext of communication gap. Meanwhile, when contacted SAAP-OSD P Ramakrishna stoutly denied the allegations that SAAP was involved in selecting over-age players. He, though, did agree that Haryana had raised objections over the participation of a player and the latter was promptly withdrawn by taking cognizance of the complaint. Looking at the developments, what is clear is that there is a systematic failure at some level of SAAP, much to the dismay of the athletes, particularly the talented ones who merit inclusion in the playing side but miss out on the opportunity.

By T Sudhakar

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