Archers told to fend for themselves as Olympic trials begin | More sports News

NEW DELHI: India’s top recurve archers are distraught after being told to arrange for their own boarding and lodging in Pune where they have assembled to compete in a selection trial for the Tokyo Olympics qualifiers.

The three-day trials have been directed by the Delhi High Court-appointed five-member transitory committee. The committee has members from the sports ministry, Sports Authority of India (SAI), Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the two suspended factions of the Archery Association of India (AAI).

The trials for both men and women recurve archers, scheduled to be held at the Army Sports Institute (ASI) Pune from January 4 to 6 will be attended by Olympians Deepika Kumari, Bombayla Devi and Atanu Das among others. The archers are also upset about the fact that while they and accompanying coaches/officials have been asked to foot their own bills, the transitory committee has surprisingly cleared the trip of selection committee members at the government’s cost. “Travelling (to and fro economy class air fare), boarding and lodging would be provided as per norms,” read a recent circular issued by the committee.

TOI spoke to some of the archers, who said they have been finding it difficult to book an accommodation as most of the good hotels are situated far off from the ASI. “Imagine you have a trial coming up for the Olympic qualifier, but are told to arrange for your own boarding and lodging rather than focus on training. As per the norms, it’s the duty of the federation (in this case the SAI since the AAI is suspended) to arrange for boarding and lodging since it’s a trial connected to Olympic qualification. When a selection trial was conducted in Sonepat in August last year, the boarding and lodging was taken care of by SAI. So, what has happened this time?” asked an archer.

An ASI official, who deals with the residential wing, informed TOI that no booking order for stay of men’s recurve archers was received from the SAI till Friday. However, when TOI contacted a transitory committee member, he assured that the accommodation will be provided to the participating archers after the first day of trial, when the numbers of competing archers will drop following their elimination, and there will be a fewer archers to accommodate in ASI. Later, the same official added that the arrangements have been made for accommodation. The archers are yet to be notified about it. “No such information has reached us. We are still searching for hotels,” an archer said.

The ASI doesn’t have any residential facility for women athletes. It only allows male athletes which only raises a question: Where will the women stay if accommodation is arranged at ASI?

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