Some of the leading sailors who had taken the Yachting Association of India (YAI) to court for various misdeeds claim they have been sidelined without any reason by the National federation.
One of the aggrieved sailors, Chetan Fernandes of Mumbai, has written to the director-general of the Sports Authority of India (SAI), pointing out the ‘discrimination’, seeking suitable intervention, as the government spends crores of rupees on the sport.
It is mandatory for the sailors to have YAI membership to be eligible to compete in trials, National championships and represent the country.
YAI has refused membership by saying, “in the recent past your conduct has been noted to be injurious to the character/interests of the Yachting Association of India.”
While Fernandes has been a member of the National squad for the last three years, the other sailors who have been denied membership have won medals in the World championship and Asian level competitions.
“With the Asian Games less than a year away, and match racing, which has consistently yielded medals for India, being among the disciplines, these actions by YAI could not have come at a more inopportune moment,” Fernandes wrote in his appeal to SAI.
There is no provision in the YAI constitution to deny membership unless the athlete is “bankrupt or has committed a violation of WADA code.” Fernandes has also quoted the Olympic Charter and the constitution of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to emphasise the fact that genuine athletes should not be excluded arbitrarily.
The Delhi High Court has looked into the grievances of the sailing fraternity, including the primitive postal ballot system adopted by YAI, much in contradiction to the recommendations of the Sports Code. Justice S.K. Mishra has posted the matter for hearing on December 3.