NEW DELHI: Indian archers could be banned from competing internationally if the de-recognized Archery Association of India (AAI) doesn’t hold its elections immediately in the coming months, World Archery has warned. This comes close on the heels of India losing hosting rights of the 2019 Asian Championships — an Olympic qualification event — to Bangkok last week, and now Indian archers could miss out on the Asia Cup in the same city next February.
This is the first time that World Archery, the sport’s world governing body, has issued such a strong threat to the AAI with the harsh possibility of disallowing the country’s archers from participating globally. TOI has reliably learned that the world body recently wrote a letter to the AAI, directing it sort out the mess.
In its defense, the archery body’s Delhi High Court-appointed administrator, former chief election commissioner SY Qureshi, has assured the World Archery to hold the elections “very soon”.
Last week, apparently miffed with the inordinate delay in holding elections, the World Archery and World Archery Asia (WAA) revoked India’s hosting rights of the Asian Championships in November next. The development is a huge setback for India’s preparation for the 2020 Olympics as the event would have doubled up as a qualifier for the Tokyo Games, offering the country’s archers an opportunity to compete at home range.
According to an AAI official, Indian archers’ first assignment after the recently-concluded Asian Games will be the Asia Cup in Bangkok. However, the World Archery is in no mood to wait that long and wants the AAI to hold elections as soon as possible.
Last year in August, the Court had appointed Qureshi as the AAI’s administrator with a mandate to get the new constitution drafted and hold elections. However, in December, a faction of the AAI approached the Supreme Court challenging Qureshi’s appointment. Since then, there hasn’t been much progress to get the AAI’s recognition back, though, according to the official, the new constitution is almost ready for submission before the SC. The AAI is serving suspension since December 2012.