Despite India’s impressive early run in the recent Asian Games in Hangzhou, where its men stunned former three-time champion South Korea and a higher-ranked Chinese Taipei before finishing sixth, volleyball will not be in the National Games which begin in Goa on October 26.
That’s because the ad hoc committee, formed by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) in mid-June to run volleyball in the country and to conduct the Volleyball Federation of India’s elections, feels that since there is not much time available, the selection of the eight teams for the National Games could run into legal complications.
“We are in a situation where we cannot recommend eight teams for the National Games without any dispute happening afterwards. We don’t have an undisputed criteria to qualify the teams. If we select eight teams, we should be able to defend it. That is the problem faced by the ad hoc committee,” former international S. Gopinath, a member of IOA’s volleyball ad hoc committee, told The Hindu on October 18 while revealing that the sport has been dropped from the National Games.
“The (IOA’s) norms say the National Games teams should be selected as per the ranking of the last National championships. But the last Nationals were conducted by the unauthorised VFI in February (in Guwahati, winners: Rajasthan men and Kerala women).
“The other option is for the ad hoc committee to conduct a National championship which is out of reach because of time and other constraints. We are only a temporary body, a lot has to be done, a lot of money is involved (to hold Nationals). And the National Games dates have already been announced.” He said the ad hoc committee was busy with the Asian Games for the last few months.
“All were engaged with the Asian Championship and the Asian Games. We have to conduct them (Nationals) only after that. There is no sufficient time. The option available were the results of the last National Games (Kerala men and women won the National Games titles in Gujarat, October 2022). But the teams which played the last National Games did not qualify as per the Nationals conducted later. So, whichever yardstick is adopted definitely we will be drawn to the court and the competition might get stalled also. And the elections will get delayed.
“So, it was advised by wise people that preference should be given to conduct the VFI elections immediately. The ad hoc committee and the GTCC had discussions in this regard.”
Though volleyball figures in the National Games schedule, the decision drop the sport was taken on Tuesday. The ad hoc committee, which had been given a 45-day deadline to conduct the VFI elections, is now in a hurry to conduct them as soon as possible.
“That (deadline) has been extended since the ad hoc committee was busy with selecting and sending the teams for the Asian Games. The elections should happen by the end of this year,” said Gopinath.