The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) today dropped 20 athletes from the Pencak Silat team for the upcoming Asian Games, alleging fake credentials, prompting the national federation to threaten legal action.
When the IOA released a list of 524 athletes for the Asian Games on July 5, 22 athletes from pencak silat were selected to take part in the Asian Games, now the Olympic body has cleared only two members.
The Games are scheduled to be held in the Indonesian twin cities of Jakarta and Palembang from August 18.
The Indian Pencak Silat Federation (IPSF), unhappy with the decision, said the certificate provided for the two approved athletes are the same as the 20 rejected players.
“While talking with officials of the IOA, they said, ‘we are confirming only 2 of your female athletes for the Asian Games’,” IPSF, Secretary General, Mufti Hamid Yasin, told PTI.
“The IOA told us that the certificates provided by the IPSF are not genuine. While the certificates of 2 selected athletes are from the same championship as the other athletes,” Yasin said.
The IPSF said it demanded clarification from the IOA but got no clear answers.
“We are planning to take legal action. Our players are medal contenders, they have consistently performed well in the sport,” a federation official said.
This is not the first time the IOA has come under the scanner on selection for the Asian Games.
They had announced a 524-member contingent but went on to drop the enitre four-member triathlon team for furnishing “misleading information”.
In the original squad announced by IOA, six Sambo athletes – two male and four female – were included. The number was then cut down to just one.
Pencak Silat is a full-body fighting sport, which includes grappling and throwing, in addition to the use of weaponry. The sport is indigenous to Indonesia, the host of next month’s Asian Games.
India had finished ahead of the South East Asians in the regional Pencak Silat Championships in 2016 with two silver and five bronze medals.