Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Can Archery Association of India hope to get Sports Ministry recognition?

Getting derecognised by the Sports Ministry is never a good thing for the health of any sports association as financial aid from the government comes to a halt. The Archery Association of India (AAI) has been treading a collision path with the Sports Ministry ever since 2012, after the former was derecognised.

The Sports Ministry’s main grouse is that the Archery Association of India has violated the age and tenure guidelines of the sports code. The bone of contention is BJP strongman and vastly experienced sports administrator VK Malhotra getting re-elected as AAI President for the fourth consecutive term in 2012, which contravenes the guidelines of the sports code.

It’s worth pointing out that VK Malhotra has served as AAI President for four decades (more than 40 years), but what the sports code guidelines clearly stipulate that a national sports federation (NSF) president can only serve three consecutive terms of four years each and has an age cap of 70. Malhotra is 83 and his re-election for the fourth consecutive term raised the hackles of the Sports Ministry, which derecognised the AAI. The re-election forced the ministry to term the elections illegal and called for fresh elections.

Nearly three years have passed since the Sports Ministry had derecognised the AAI, but what has made things ‘interesting’ is that VK Malhotra recently stepped down as AAI President, thus giving rise to hopes that the Sports Ministry will lift ‘the derecognise blanket over AAI’.

“The AAI has been derecognised for close to three years but the performance of our archers have been outstanding,” said a Archery Association of India official.

Now that VK Malhotra is out of the radar, the Archery Association of India should not be wasting much time in seeking recognition from the sports ministry. Of course, the AAI has said in public domain that the derecognition was not fair and that performance of the country’s archers must be taken into consideration. The AAI must look to avoid a collision course with the Sports Ministry and attain the ministry’s recognition so that government funding starts flowing to AAI’s coffers and our archers get more support and the sport is in the best of health.

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