Infighting at GFI hits gymnasts, Delhi players to miss junior Asian Championships

April 19, 2018, Delhi, Mohali

Gymnasticsjunior Asian Championships


Young gymnasts from Delhi have been taken for a ride by warring factions of the Gymnastics Federation of India (GFI) and they will not be able to compete in the junior Asian Championships to be held in Jakarta from April 25, despite appearing for trials.

In what appears to be trick played by the two factions of GFI, the gymnasts were initially given the option to appear for selection trials either in Surat or Mohali, the two designated venues. The Delhi gymnasts, naturally, chose Mohali as it was closer home and skipped the trials in Surat on March 27.

However, the Delhi gymnasts were later told that only those who had appeared for trials in Surat would travel to Indonesia, as it was conducted by the ‘recognised’ faction of the GFI. As things stand, the Ranjeet Vasava-led faction is recognised by the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) and holds the rights to field teams in FIG-sanctioned competitions.

The four-day competition in Jakarta assumes importance as it doubles up as the selection trials for the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires from October 6.

The biggest loser is Tushar, who had clinched bronze in the Khelo India School Games. Tushar and three others had appeared for trials in Mohali, which was organised by the faction led by Shanthikumar Singh, whose faction is recognised by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

Deepak Kabra, an official of the Vasava faction, said that a 10-member team had been selected based on the performance of gymnasts who came to Surat.

The squad, however, will not get government grants as the sports ministry had de-recognised GFI in 2012. “Since we are not getting funds from the government, the team members, including two coaches, will have to raise funds (Rs 90,000 per person) to travel to Jakarta,” said Kabra.

The entry of the squad has been accepted by the tournament’s organising committee.

Tushar’s parents were livid. His father, Naresh, lamenting the state of affairs, said, “the players are suffering.”

Recently, infighting between the factions had denied Gaurav Kumar and Mohammed Bobby a place in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games-bound contingent. The Games are over, but the two are still fighting a legal battle.

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