New Delhi: Indian athletics squad returned to New Delhi on Saturday from the 2013 Asian Youth Games in Nanjing, China.
The disappointment of non-participation by 17 of them for being overage was written large on their faces.
However, the only silver lining was the 4 medals India won in the track n field event. India secured 1 gold 1 silver and 2 bronze medals.
India participated under the International Olympic Committee banner because the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is under suspension.
An angry Indian team manager PK Srivastava told NDTV that the tournament organisers were at fault for the age row. "It is the fault of the organizing committee. We had registered our athletes and later we were told that some can't compete. Our athletes were extremely disappointed as only 9 of them could take part out of a 26-member contingent," he said on Saturday. Srivastava is also the treasurer of the Athletics Federation of India.
The head coach of the Indian athletics squad Ravinder Saini too was disappointed, "Our players are very upset. They went all the way and did not get to show their talent and skills," he said.
However, Saini says India was not the only contingent to have faced such 'over-aged' issues. "There were other countries too which faced similar problems of players unable to compete due to overage. Our athletes, who could not compete took active part in other activities like training and exchange programme workshops etc. It was very difficult for them to keep their spirits high, but still they trained hard. The four medals that we won was a morale booster for all of us," he said.
All 26 athletes were given participation certificates from the Asian Youth Games organisers.