Left out of the Indian squad for the Asian Games, a fuming Dipa Karmakar on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the Sports Ministry for leaving her de-motivated and discouraged with their “deafening silence”. The gymnast, who achieved a historic fourth place finish at the 2016 Rio Olympics, recently topped the Asian Games trials in her event but was excluded from the Indian squad as she didn’t fulfil criteria of a top-eight finish in the last 12 months.
In her case, it was not possible as she was serving a two-year ban due to anti-doping violation.
Two days after her coach Bisheshwar Nandi lashed out at SAI, Dipa took to social media to vent her anger and helplessness.
“On this Independence Day, I am using my freedom of speech to discuss recent events that have proven to be very demotivating and discouraging. The #AsianGames2023, an event I have eagerly anticipated for the past two years, looks further than it is,” she wrote on X, formerly twitter.
On this #IndependenceDay, I am using my freedom of speech to discuss recent events that have proven to be very demotivating and discouraging.
The #AsianGames2023, an event I have eagerly anticipated for the past two years, looks further than it is. (1/N)
— Dipa Karmakar (@DipaKarmakar) August 15, 2023
The government criteria states that athletes’ performance in individual events during the last 12 months should not fall below the performance achieved by the eighth position holder in the 2018 Asian Games for measurable sports.
However, the Indian men’s football team was cleared for travel despite not meeting the criteria after heavy lobbing from IOA secretary general Kalyan Chaubey, who is also AIFF president.
Dipa, though, thinks topping the trials should have been suffice for her inclusion.
“To my surprise, despite topping the national trials and meeting the @IndiaSports selection criteria, it appears that I will be deprived of the opportunity to participate in the @19thAGofficial.” What has angered her is lack of communication from the authorities.
“Worse still, the reasons behind this decision are unknown to me and have not been communicated officially. Instead, my fellow gymnasts and I are left to read about our exclusion from the Games in the news and I simply don’t know what to make of it.” She urged authorities to be fair in their assessments.
“The hard work and sacrifice that goes into preparing for major games is rarely appreciated and instead met with uncertainty and deafening silence from Media_SAI and @IndiaSports. All I ask is for the selection criteria to be applied fairly and consistently across all sports.” She concluded by writing that she is still confident of participating in the Hangzhou Games.
“And request that the correct information be conveyed to us so that we don’t live in uncertainty. In the meanwhile, I owe it to my country to continue my training and I am hopeful that I will be joining @WeAreTeamIndia in Hangzhou next month. Jai hind!”
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