New Delhi: Indian athletes are set to take part in the fourth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games to be held from June 29 to July 6 in Incheon, South Korea under the Olympic Council of Asia banner in the aftermath of IOA's ban by the IOC.
Thirty five Indian athletes and 11 officials from four sports have been cleared by the government though most of them are participating in the multi-sport event at their own cost.
"As the IOA has been suspended by International Olympic Committee (since December last), the Indian athletes will take part in the event under the banner of OCA. The OCA have got the entries of the Indian athletes, some will be taking part at government cost and some at their own cost," OCA Secretary General, Randhir Singh, who is also recognised by the IOC as the Secretary General of the suspended IOA, told PTI.
There was though confusion in the whole process regarding who should send the entries of the athletes for the event. Technically, V K Malhotra is still the IOA acting chief though most of the day-to-day activities at the headquarters here are being done by officials under the direction of the Abhay Singh Chautala-led dispensation, which has not been recognised by the IOC.
Malhotra said as acting chief of the IOA, he has sent the entries to the OCA though he has told the respective federations to approach the Sports Ministry individually.
"I received the communication from the OCA asking for India's participation and so I have sent the entries of the athletes to the OCA. Since the federations of some of the disciplines featuring in the Asian Indoor Games are not affiliated to the IOA, I have asked the individual federations to approach the Sports Ministry individually," Malhotra said.
The 12-discipline Games have some obscure sports like e-sport, dance sport, kurash, baduk, kickboxing and muay. The others are billiards, bowling, chess, futsal, kabaddi and short course swimming (25m).
Thirteen billiards players will take part in the Games, while 14 are kabaddi players, four in chess and four in bowling.
Sports Secretary P K Deb said that kabaddi players have been cleared to participate at government's cost while others will be cleared at no cost to government.
"We have cleared kabaddi to take part at government cost. Regarding billiards, we are will take a sympathetic view and we have asked (the federation) to submit the budget," Deb said.
Sports Authority of India Director General Jiji Thomson said that the government will not fund the athletes.
All India Chess Federation Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan said his players would be taking part in the event at their own cost as the government has said that it would not foot the bill.
"Four chess players have been cleared at no cost to the government. So the federation and the players will bear the cost. We are not affiliated to the IOA and so we have been denied government fund," he said.