PENCAK SILAT INDIAN TEAM SHOULD BE ALLOWED(22 ATHLETES) FOR 18TH ASIAN GAMES 2018-JAKARTA
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Asian Games: Handball makes back-door entry
Sabi Hussain | TNN |
NEW DELHI: Indian Olympic Association's (IOA) treasurer Anandeshwar Pandey knows a thing or two about how to get the work done. Else, how would anyone justify the inclusion of the men's handball team in the main draw of the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games despite the side not fulfilling the qualification criteria?
Pandey, secretary of Handball Federation of India (HFI) as well as IOA treasurer, used his clout in the Asian Handball Federation (AHF) to get the men's team included in Group 'D' of the Asiad draw, alongside Bahrain, Chinese Taipei and Iraq after five higher-ranked teams withdrew from the Games. India are ranked 12th in Asia. Armed with the draw, he has put pressure on IOA to accommodate the team in the Indian contingent even though IOA's top brass had already said no to the team.
It's been learnt that the IOA has planned to drop around 10 names from the 22-member pencak silat squad to accommodate entries in other disciplines. A pencak silat federation official confirmed having received a call from the IOA. In that scenario, it could be handball's gain. A top IOA functionary informed that the men's handball team's inclusion has happened without association's knowledge.
He, interestingly, added that since Pandey had managed to get the team included in Asiad draw, the IOA can't do much. The development comes after Pandey threatened to quit as IOA treasurer and revolt against president Narinder Batra & Co if the men's team wasn't cleared.
"The teams from Australia, Uzbekistan, China, Oman and UAE are not participating in the Asian Games. So, the Indian men's handball team has qualified. The team is already included in the draw ceremony and matches scheduled to play," read the letter from the AHF, a copy of which is with TOI.
The men's team had finished 12th out of 14 nations at the Asian Championships in South Korea in January this year. Moreover, at the 2014 Incheon Asiad, the men's team had finished 14th out of 14 teams. IOA's qualification criteria calls for a top-six finish in the individual events and top-eight in the team events at the previous Asiad.
The women's handball team is already part of the Indian delegation for the Games even though it has won only four of the 33 matches it has featured at the continental level since 2006.
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