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Govt to form panel to review ‘VIP’ clause in National Sports Code

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Kiren Rijiju

New Delhi: Sports minister Kiren Rijiju has said the government was open to review the clause in the proposed National Sports Code which bars Ministers, MPs and MLAs to be part of sports administration and promised to form an expert panel to look into the contentious issue.

Rijiju said the government and the IOA were not conflicted on the Code issue after his first-ever formal meeting with officials of National Sports Federations (NSFs) and the IOA but insisted it did not come up for discussion.

“Sports Code is just a part of one thing which we consider as important but our main purpose is to promote sports. With regard to Sports Code, we have already taken a decision that this is a technical issue, this is an issue related to policy, so an expert committee will look into it at an appropriate time,” Rijiju said.

“Along with the Indian Olympic Association, we will form an expert committee which will take a call but not now. We didn’t deliberate on the issue in today’s meeting. We deliberated on the promotions of sports and Olympic preparation,” he said

“The IOA represents the interests of all sports federations. When the IOA President said he is satisfied with today’s meeting that means we are together. There is nothing called conflict. There is no conflict,” he added.

The Minister earlier in the day a Sports Code which is acceptable to all will be put in place by the government.

“We can’t single out any profession with regards to governance of the sport. It would be wrong to say that businessmen cannot take part in sports federations or politicians and officers cannot take part then who will run sport?” asked Rijiju.

“It is not about the profession it is about how suitable one is to run the sports federation. We cannot single out any person of any background. What is in the best interest of sport will be put in the Sports Code.”

“There was virtually no discussion on the sports code today. I believe the sports minister knows that the IOA and NSFs are opposed to the draft Sports Code and proposed changes. He straightaway said that a new committee will be formed to look into the sports code,,” a top IOA official told PTI.

Asked about the earlier Sports Code, he said, “We can take good provisions from there and include it. It will be for the good of Indian sports.”

Majority of the NSFs are against the age cap (70 years) and tenure clause in the 2017 draft Sports Code, besides the clause which bars politicians and bureaucrats from holding office in IOA and NSFs.

Asked if a middle path could be found between all stakeholders, the Minister said: “There is no middle path, we are together. I want a Sports Code which is universally acceptable, which is suitable for sports and won’t lead to any controversy.”

“Why courts are intervening in sporting matters? If they are required to intervene it means there is a failure of sports mechanism. There will be no issue because all are on board whether it is IOA or NSFs. Sports Code will be reviewed with full consensus.”

Asked if IOA’s coming under the ambit of the Sports Code would amount to government interference, risking its affiliation with the International Olympic Committee, Rijiju said: “There is something called sovereignty. Can anything function out of that?”.

IOA President Narinder Batra welcomed the government’s decision to form an expert committee.

“Absolutely we are on board. There will be a committee formed in time to come. We will have discussions and take it forward accordingly. We are satisfied with today’s discussion,” he said.

“I think we should focus more on 2020, 2024 and 2028 Olympics. Most of the deliberations took place on this subject.”

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Shooting News

SAI cancels ‘pay and play’ membership of fighting shooters

Press Trust of India

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NRAI

New Delhi: The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has cancelled the membership of the two marksmen involved in a scuffle inside the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range here while the national federation has asked its Athletes Commission to launch an inquiry into the incident.

Ugly scenes were witnessed at the range on Sunday when the two errant shooters — Babar Khan and Yoginder Pal Singh, a former member of the Indian double trap team, got into a fight after an argument regarding the scheduling of rounds.

The breach of discipline forced the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) to act against the shooters.

“The NRAI has referred the matter to the Athletes Commission and asked them to look into it, send them a notice and launch an inquiry. Meanwhile, their ‘pay and play’ scheme membership has been cancelled by SAI,” an official of the federation said.

Fellow shooters and coaches present there at the time of the incident had to physically restrain the two and bring the situation under control.

A video clip of the incident was also circulated.

The Karni Singh Range is a property of Sports Authority of India and shooters are are allowed to use the facility under SAI’s ‘pay and play’ scheme.

The NRAI’s Athletes Commission is headed by former international shooters Morad Ali Khan and also comprises Ashok Mittal, Vikram Batnagar, Anuja Jung and Sonia Rai.

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Athletics

Two much fun for Belihu, Gemechu at Airtel Delhi Half Marathon

Sayan Mukherjee

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ADHM 2019
Andamlak Belihu bettered his timing by eight seconds this year.

New Delhi: Ethiopians trumped Kenyans in a long-standing rivalry between the two East African middle and long distance running powerhouses as Andamlak Belihu and Tsehay Gemechu defended their Airtel Delhi Half Marathon titles on Sunday.

Belihu clocked 59:10 to retain the men’s title at the 15th edition of the event while Gemechu (66:00) reset the event record, producing her personal best timing at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Belihu improved by eight seconds on last year’s timing at the IAAF Gold Label Race, finishing ahead of compatriot Solomon Berihu (59:17) and Kenya’s Kibiwott Kandie (59:33).

Ethiopia’s Guye Adola (59.06) set the course record in 2014, Belihu came up short by only 4 seconds.

In the women’s section, Ethiopians swept the podium as Gemechu was followed by Yelamzerf Yehualaw (1:06:01) and Zeineba Yimer (1:06:57).

Last year, Gemechu had produced a personal best of 66:50 to set a course record. The 21-year-old shaved off 50 seconds off her 2018 timing.

The winners got richer by $27,000 first prize. Gemechu pocketed an additional $10,000, for setting the course record.

“I am happy to have broken the course record. I was tired after participating at the World Championships in Doha. But I wanted to win in Delhi. I am very happy to have achieved my personal best as well,” said Gemechu.

Belihu said he was disappointed o have missed the course record by such a small margin.

“I am a bit disappointed to have missed the course record but overall it was a good race. I plan to run a few marathons and half marathons. But it depends on my training. I need to discuss with my coach before taking a call,” he said.

Among Indians, Srinu Bugatha topped in the men’s section with a timing of 1:4:33. Three- time ADHM champ Suresh Patel (1:04:57) was second, ahead of Harshad Mhatre (1:05:12).

In women’s section for Indians, Loganathan Suriya, the course record holder, triumphed with a timing of 1:12:49, followed by Parul Chaudhary (1:13:55) and Chinta Yadav (1:15:28).

Sports minister Kiren Rijiju, event ambassador Carmelita Jeter were present at the event to encourage the athletes.

Find more articles from the author at Sayan Mukherjee.

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Boxing

Mary Kom ready to fight Zareen in trials, says it would be a “formality”

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Nikhat Zareen & Mary Kom

New Delhi: “I am not scared to face Nikhat Zareen,” avowed celebrated boxer MC Mary Kom, saying it would just be a “formality” to beat her in the trials for the Olympic qualifiers.

Mary Kom (51kg) found herself embroiled in a controversy with Zareen demanding a trial bout against her before the Indian squad for next year’s Olympic qualifiers is decided.

This was after the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) stated that it intends to pick six-time world champion Mary Kom (51kg) for the event in China on the back of her recent bronze medal-winning performance at the World Championships in Russia.

“The decision has been taken by BFI. I can’t change the rule. I can just perform. Whatever they decide, I will go with that. I’m not scared to face her, I am fine with the trials,” said Mary Kom on the sidelines of a felicitation program here.

“I have defeated her many times since SAF Games but she keeps challenging me. I mean, what is the point? It is just a formality. BFI also knows who can win a medal at Olympics.”

Mary Kom said “people are jealous of me”.

“It has happened with me in the past also. Perform on the ring, that is the real thing. BFI sends us for exposure trips so comeback with a gold, prove yourself,” she said.

“I am not against her. She might be good in future, let her have the experience and focus on preparation for the highest level. I have been fighting for last 20 years. To challenge is easy but to perform is difficult.”

For selection of men’s team, BFI had decided that the medallists of the World Championships will be sent directly to the first Olympic qualifiers to be held in China.

In women’s competition, BFI had said in August that only the gold and silver winners at the World Championships in Russia would be selected directly for the Olympic qualifiers in February.

However, BFI now has decided to call a selection committee meeting next week to discuss Zareen’s plea.

Mary Kom said there should be gender quality in the selection criteria.

“I don’t care about all this. Let BFI take the decision. There should be gender equality, can’t have separate rules for men and women.”

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