Comrade K. Somaprasad raised the issue of alleged malpractices in selection of India’s World Athletics Championship Team in Rajya Sabha during zero hour on 2nd August, 2017

August 03, 2017

Sir, I would like to submit the following serious matter before this august House and the Government. The World Athletic Championship will be held in London from 4 th to 13th August. The Indian team which is participating in the meet was selected by the Indian Athletic Federation. This year, several criticisms were raised from different corners that the selection process was not fair and transparent. It is believed that the office-bearers of Indian Athletic Federation have made some foul play in the selection of the team. The best example is of P.U. Chitra--she won the Gold medal in the women’s 1500 mts. race at the Asian Athletic Championship conducted in Bhubaneswar--who has been expelled from the Indian team. The Athletic Federation has not given any satisfactory explanation till now. The Athletic Federation says that P.U. Chitra had not qualified in the selection meet held at Guntur. But surprisingly, two athletes who are included in the team did not even attend the selection test. It is known that as per the existing rules and guidelines, P.U. Chitra, as the Gold Medal winner in the Asian Games, is eligible to be included in the Indian team even without participating in the selection meet. In the meantime, the issue was brought before the Hon. Kerala High Court. The Court has directed the Indian Athletic Federation to take steps to include Chitra in the Indian team.

But the Indian Athletic Federation was informed by the International Association of Athletic Federation that Ms P.U. Chitra could not be included. The whole mess was created due to the unhealthy practice of the Indian Athletic Federation. The selection list was kept confidential until the last moment. The whole selection process was orchestrated based on a planned drama. The Indian team now includes 26 sportspersons and 16 officials, and 12 members belong to the relay team. If we closely examine the Indian team, it is evident that more than half a dozen members are not related to sports directly or indirectly. It is shame that eligible and talented athletes are expelled while a number of unauthorized and ineligible persons are seated with berths. This shows the lack of transparency in the process of selection and vested interest of the office-bearers. Sports in India are a honey pot. Huge amounts are allotted to the Federations and Associations for the development of sports and games. In 2011, the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs formulated the National Sports Development Rules. The rules clearly stipulate the protocol for the selection in an international sports event. The guideline also insisted on the transparency in every selection process. All the guidelines are violated here. Hence an urgent intervention of the Central Government is essential.