The Association of Indian Universities (AIU) on Friday looked set to send its team to the World University badminton championships in Korea despite not receiving the green signal from the Sports Authority of India (SAI).
With the AIU sticking to its controversial selection of the 12-member team and at the same time not making available the documents related to selection process, trials and results, the government observer in badminton, Dinesh Khanna, advised against its clearance.
The SAI, based on the advice of Khanna, as well as the other government observer, Damayanti Tambe, who was also brought into the picture on Friday, informed the Union Sports Ministry that there apparently was improper selection and it may not be advisable to fund the team’s participation in the World meet.
Clearly, the ball has been put in the ministry’s court with Khanna adopting the stand that the selection appeared to be “controversial” and quite possibly a number of deserving players might have been left out.
The SAI did not receive the clarifications it had sought from the AIU regarding selection and the observers were left with little clue about the selection process or about those left out because of a pull-out by 14 leading players during the trials.
They did, however, go through the note submitted by Madhumita Bishat, one of the selectors at the AIU trials.
It is to be seen in the next two days how the ministry would respond to this development or how the AIU would go ahead with its current plan to send the team if the government approval is not forthcoming, even if the trip is at “no-cost-to-government” basis.
Sources said the AIU was yet to settle the accounts related to the World Universiade participation last year.
The championships begin in the Korean city of Gwangju on November 6.
Our Kochi Special Correspondent adds: “We have got an assurance from the AIU that the Government would reimburse our expenses once we come back from Korea,” said Mathew Ninan, father of international Megha Merin Ninan, a member of the team, on Friday evening.
“The AIU has said that it has got an assurance that the Government would reimburse the amount,” he said.
However, the team’s worries were far from over on Friday. Four visas — for the three Mahatma Gandhi University girls and the team’s coach M.J. Mohanachandran — had not been obtained yet.
“There was some delay in sending the papers,” said coach Mohanachandran from Thiruvananthapuram.
The team is now likely to leave in two batches, from Delhi on November 4 and 5.