Indian taekwondo team’s chances of participation in SAG brightens after IOC intervention

India’s taekwondo team may be able to compete in the South Asian Games in Kathmandu next month after the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday asked the organisers to allow its participation in the regional multi-sporting event.

The Nepal Olympic Committee on November 23 had rejected India’s entry in archery, taekwondo and karate as the national governing bodies of these sports were either suspended by the world body or not recognised by their National Olympic Committee.

But the World Taekwondo (WT), the international body of the sport, had asked the organisers to allow the Indian team to take part in the South Asian Games under a special consideration.

“It is true that Taekwondo Federation of India (TFI) was suspended by WT due to governance issue. However, the Interim Board formed by IOA and WT is managing daily operations and takes care of selection of athletes to participate in all WT promoted or recognised competitions,” WT’s Member Relations and Development Senior Director Jeongkang Seo had said in a letter to the organisers.

“In particular, WT has been fully supporting the selection process of the Interim Board for participation in South Asian Games, as athletes have never been suspended from participation in international sport event,” he said in the letter to Nepal Olympic Committee Executive Secretary, Sujan Lal Shresthas, sent on November 23.

Supporting WT’s stand, IOC’s NOC Relations Department Head Jerome Poivey on Tuesday wrote to Nepal Olympic Committee President Jeevan Shrestha to ensure Indian taekwondo team’s participation in the December 1 to 9 South Asian Games.

“This is to confirm that we fully support the self-explanatory position expressed by World Taekwondo and kindly request that your NOC and the Organising Committee of the South Asian Games follow the instructions given by World Taekwondo, so as the Indian Taekwondo athletes can participate in these Games,” Poivey said in the letter.

“The athletes should not suffer from a situation they are not responsible for and appropriate solutions have to be found to protect the athletes’ interests and participation under these particular circumstances. This is exactly what World Taekwondo and the Indian Olympic Association have been doing in this case, and we must support their joint efforts.

“We understand that the deadline for these athletes to be registered may have expired due to this situation, but still request that you find an appropriate solution for these athletes to be able to participate in these Games.”