The 'manipulated' Incheon Asian Games singles draw in
squash to ensure India a medal continues to haunt
India's top woman player, Dipika Pallikal, who has once
again brought the issue to the fore by asking the Indian
Olympic Association (IOA) to ensure such a thing doesn't
In a letter addressed to IOA
secretary-general Rajeev Mehta on her return from
Incheon with a bronze, Pallikal said she "wants to
pursue the issue of not placing two fellow country
players in the same half of the draw. All other sport at
the Asian Games in 2006 (Doha), 2010 (Guangzhou) and
2014 (Incheon) had by rule not pitted the same country
players in the same half, but squash, if you remember
Sir (Mehta), had done this in 2006, 2010 and 2014."
Pallikal was so demoralised after seeing the Incheon
draw, which pitted her against compatriot Joshna
Chinappa in the quarter-final, that she seriously
considered pulling out, but finally decided to 'play
Pursuing the case
her return, she wants to pursue the issue 'to its
logical end'. Pallikal's letter on October 17, 2014,
further states: "I have been advised by Mr Wei Jizhong,
the honorary life vice-president of the Olympic Council
of Asia (OCA) that I can pursue this issue with the
National Olympic Committee (NOC) of India, so that at
the next Asian Games, squash too follows the same rule
as all other racquet sport."
Jizhong lived up to
his promise and ensured the squash draw for the Asian
Beach Games, starting on Wednesday, was in consonance
with the Olympic Charter and latest 2014 WSF rule of
In racquet sport, two
things need to be kept in mind. First, only two players
per country are allowed at the Games and second, to
comply with its Olympic bid, the World Squash Federation
(WSF) rulebook was changed to 'Optimum separation of
players of the same nationality to be used i.e. drawn in
different halves and, if there are more than two
competitors from the same nation, in different
With just two players per country
participating in the Games, it's strange how two seeded
Indian players have been finding themselves in the same
half of the draw every time since the 2006 Doha Asiad.
It ensured Saurav Ghosal
bronze medals in both 2006 and 2010 Asian Games.
In 2010, Ghosal was placed in the same half with
Siddharth Suchde ensuring they would meet in the
quarter-finals and one of them would move into the
semi-finals, thus securing India at least a bronze.
So, when Pallikal defeated Chinappa in the
quarter-finals at Incheon, history was repeated, in the
sense that the draw was made in such a manner that
India's top women squash exponents were destined to meet
in the last-eight stage, being in the same half of the
draw. Pallikal moved into the semis and assured a
IOA secretary-general, Rajeev Mehta, told
HT that Pallikal's letter will be forwarded to the OCA
which will in turn take up the issue with the Asian
Squash Federation (ASF).
But the paradox is that
how will N Ramachandran, the current IOA and WSF
president, react to a complaint from his own office
challenging his legacy on both fronts as he is still
patron of the ASF and Squash Racquet Federation of India
(SRFI). It will be a piquant situation as he will be
the petitioner, respondent, judge and jury to ratify or
alter his own interpretations.
- See more at:
The SRFI/ Association of Indian Universities( AIU )
combine did not bother to study the contradictions
between the Federation of International Universities
(FISU) /WSF rules which has led to the best and
legitimate Indian players being sidelined while the
foreign participants have reaped the benefits of
The best examples of this discrimination is that on the
14th of July Anaka Anakalomy (Arjuna Awardee 2014) and
Ramit Tandon presented their credentials to the
Eligibility Committee but a few hours later they were
rejected , probably on the basis that they were studying
in US Colleges , but Dr K Vaithianathan (Chairman of the
Eligibility Committee) has never quoted or shown the AIU
rule by which they were debarred.
On the 28th of August the names of the foreign
participants was released and the UK contestants
included Camilla Sarah Tomlinson also known as Millie
Tomlinson . Millie studied at Yale University (USA) from
2010 till 2013 and even played Inter College matches
against Anaka and is presently not enrolled in any
university in UK. A quote dated 24th Feb 2014 states ‘In
the top spot, senior Millie Tomlinson avenged her
regular season defeat to Penn No. 1 Anaka Alankamony,
defeating her in four games (11-4,11-9,2-11,11-5). The
CAP (Championship Adjunction Committee) constituted by
the WSF with 2 Chennai based officials M Maniam and
Rajiv R were well aware of the status of both the
rejected players Anaka and Ramit but cleared Millie for
participation when all 3 are in the same situation !
According to the FISU/WSF these rules only applied to
the foreign players the Indian contingent, which would
have constituted of Ramit Tandon (Colombia ) Aditya
Jagtap (Cornell) Karan Mallik (Trinity) and Anaka A (U
Pen) and probably Saumya Karki (Harvard) or Aprajitha
who was already in the Team and these players could have
insured India a place in the top 3.
The 2nd bias against the Indians was that Olga Ertlova
(Czech Republic) , the 1st seed turned 28 on the 10th of
January 2014 was cleared to participate despite the AIU
rule ‘ Only students who are less than 28 years of age
on first July of the academic year in which the
tournament is held can participate’. Olga probably
benefitted from the FISU rule that states ‘be at least
17 and less than 28 years of age on January 1st in the
year of the event” which is only applicable to
In an answer to a protest Zena Woolridge, the FISU
Technical Delegate explained that India followed its own
rules and thus debarred their players studying abroad
but did not reply to many other discrepancies and Ravi
Dixit’s non eligibility. Incidentally the players who
won and did well like Millie who won the individual
women’s title and helped Great Britain to come 2nd in
the team championship and Olga Ertlova, runner up in the
woman’s were both in eligible to participate under
Indian rules !
In total contrast to the above, the TNSRA controlled
SRFI fielded Ravi Dixit. Ravi is not a bona fide student
as he is domiciled in Chennai for the past 8 years and
cannot prove even half of the 75% minimum attendance
ascribed to a regular student of a govt recognized
college in Dhampur (UP), 2300 kms away from Chennai.
Surprisingly this major violation was overlooked by
SRFI/TNSRA, AIU and CAP while genuine Indian university
players were debarred by the Eligibility Committee
consisting of only Tamil Nadu officials!
Finally the belated release of the Squash WUC Handbook
is evident as the SRFI/AIU had not even bothered to
update the changes in the post of the AIU President,
Vice President and the name of the new Sec. Gen Dr.
Furqan Qamar is conspicuous by its omission.
The non adherence to any FISU/WSF rules, Indian New
Sports Code deadlines and regulations show that the SRFI
/ TNSRA and AIU were not even aware of the conflicting
rules and therefore took no action to bring them under
consonance as mostly non TNSRA, USA based Indian players
(men) were being victimized, the exception Anaka was not
worrisome as the TNSRA thought they had enough
substitutes in women namely Dipika Pallikal , Aprajitha
B and Laksha R, but it was not to be .
Finally the Delhi High Court had a message for the
squash players and Justice Endlaw commented that
everyday players are challenging the selection process
in court without any fear so he found it hard to believe
that not one player had the courage to approach the
judiciary and this was the reason that reselections were
not ordered by the court !
Upset with the "manipulative" Asian Games singles
draw, India's top squash player Dipika Pallikal is
"seriously considering" pulling out of the upcoming
Incheon Games and possibly handing another setback to
the country's medals tally.
Pallikal and her
longtime teammate Joshana Chinappa are drawn to meet in
the quarterfinals a month after winning India's first
ever squash medal at the Commonwealth Games, where they
bagged the gold in the women's doubles. According to the
competition rules, two players belonging to the same
country cannot be in the same half of the draw.
"It is disheartening to see the draw like this. Clearly
the draw makers have not gone by the rules and put
Joshana and I in the same quarter, let alone the half.
I have already written to our federation to appeal
against the manipulated draw but I am yet to get a
reply. I am surely going to think about pulling out if
the draw is not set right," Pallikal told PTI after
conducting an 'adidas master class' with the city's
budding players here today.
The World No 12
further said: "It (the draw) robs India of a chance of
getting two medals in the women's singles. It can't be a
coincidence that the draw has been manipulated for three
Asian Games in a row to assure India a medal. It is a
wrong approach. Both Joshana and I are capable of
NEW DELHI: Mired in selection
controversies and devoid of a Khel Ratna for the first
time in 20 years, the National Sports Awards were on
Friday presented by President Pranab Mukherjee at the
Rashtrapati Bhawan in a ceremony which was severely
short on star power.
Like the past editions, selection
controversies cast a shadow on the ceremony and matters
came to a head when boxer Manoj Kumar dragged the Sports
Ministry to court after being overlooked for the Arjuna
award despite qualifying in the new points system.
Add to this, the awards selection
committee did not find any athlete worthy of the
country's highest sporting honour -- the Rajiv Gandhi
Khel Ratna -- this year.
None of the seven candidates, whose
names were forwarded to the committee, got the 12-member
panel's nod, making it the first time since 1994 when no
sportsperson was named for the top award.
Controversies aside, the ceremony
followed the long-standing traditions as awardees walked
upto to receive their respective honours from the
President amid resounding applause from the dignitaries
present, including Vice President M Hamid Ansari and
Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
A notable absentee from the
ceremony was cricketer R Ashwin. The off-spinner could
not make it as he is currently on national duty in
England in an ongoing ODI series.
The others who were bestowed the
honour were Akhilesh Varma (archery), Tintu Luka
(athletics), H N Girisha (paralympics), V Diju
(badminton), Geetu Ann Jose (basketball), Jai Bhagwan
(boxing), Anirban Lahiri (golf), Mamta Pujari (kabaddi),
Saji Thomas (rowing), Heena Sidhu (shooting), Anaka
Alankamony (squash), Tom Joseph (volleyball), Renubala
Chanu (weightlifting) and Sunil Rana (wrestling).
Arjuna, Dronacharya and Dhyan Chand
awardees received statuettes, citations and cash prize
of Rs 5 lakh each. Recipients of Rashtriya Khel
Protsahan Puruskar were given trophies.
The awards selection panel, headed
by cricket legend Kapil Dev, included the likes of Anju
Bobby George and Kunjarani Devi, two mediapersons and
three government representatives, including Sports
Authority of India Director General Jiji Thomson.
Picking 2010 Commonwealth Games
bronze-medallist Jai Bhagwan and ignoring the
gold-medallist from the same event, Manoj Kumar, had led
to a massive controversy ahead of the award. 20-year-old
squash player Alankamony's inclusion in the list had
also raised eyebrows.
Kumar, with 32 points, had maximum
points amongst the boxers who applied for the honour and
two more than Bhagwan.
Arjuna award: Akhilesh Varma
(Archery), Tintu Luka (Athletics), HN Girisha
(Paralympics), V Diju (Badminton), Geetu Ann Jose
(Basketball), Jai Bhagwan (Boxing), Ravichandran Ashwin
(Cricket), Anirban Lahiri (Golf), Mamta Pujari
(Kabaddi), Saji Thomas (Rowing), Heena Sidhu (Shooting),
Anaka Alankamany (Squash), Tom Joseph (Volleyball),
Renubala Chanu (Weightlifting) and Sunil Rana
Dronacharya award: Mahabir Prasad
(Wrestling), N Lingappa (Athletics - Lifetime), G
Manoharan (Boxing - Lifetime), Gurcharan Singh Gogi
(Judo - Lifetime), Jose Jacob (Rowing - Lifetime).
Dhyan Chand award: Gurmail Singh
(Hockey), K P Thakkar (Swimming - Diving), Zeeshan Ali
Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar:
1. Employment of sports persons and sports welfare
measures Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC),
2. Community Sports - identification and nurturing of
budding /young talent Jindal Steel Works (JSW), 3.
Establishment and Management of sports academies of
excellence Guru Hanuman Akhara, Delhi, 4. Other forms of
sports activities not covered in the four categories
mentioned in the schemes Child Link Foundation of India
NEW DELHI: The infighting within the Indian Olympic
Association has intensified with its secretary general
Rajeev Mehta today saying that IOA president N
Ramachandran will be solely responsible if the country
fails to submit its bid to host the 2019 Asian Games.
In an e-mail to Ramachandran today, Mehta claimed
that he had received 85 per cent positive response from
the National Sports Federations (NSFs) on the issue of
bidding for the 2019 Asian Games.
"I had given a
press statement in May 2014 that IOA should bid for 2019
Asian Games. Subsequently you had given statements that
this was my personal view and such decisions have to be
discussed and approved by the General house of IOA," he
wrote in the e-mail.
"I actually had given my
statement after sensing the sentiments of the members.
But now to convince you, I had written to all members of
IOA to give their consent or denial. I am happy to
inform you that till now we have received yes from 85
per cent member votes and the balance 15 per cent
members have not replied but no one has said no," Mehta
Mehta also pointed out that the Squash
Rackets Federation of India and Indian Triathlon
Federation, the bodies where Ramachandran enjoys a
clout, were yet to reply on this matter.
surprising to note that your federation squash had not
yet replied and also the Triathlon, again controlled by
you, has not replied," he said.
"I now hope that
you will submit the bid for 2009 Asian Games by or
before July 1, 2014 and will not let the IOA, its
members and the sport loving people of the country down.
Kindly note that we will now hold you solely responsible
in case the IOA does not submit the bid," Mehta said.
CHENNAI: What seemed to be an internal fight between
the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president N
Ramachandran and secretary general Rajeev Mehta has
turned into a tussle for supremacy.
Mehta, in an
interesting move, has asked all the national federations
and state Olympic units to express their opinion on
bidding for the 2019 Asian Games. He said since there is
very little time until July 1 to present the bid, it
would be convenient if the units and federations replied
to his mail supporting or rejecting the bid.
“Since we do not have sufficient time to call a meeting
of General House to take the approval/consent for
submitting a bid for the hosting of these Games, I am
requesting all members vide this e-mail to give their
consent by e-mail either in favour of submitting a bid
for the hosting of the 2019 Asian Games or against,”
This, interestingly, is seen by many
as a show of strength by Mehta. Mehta’s comment that
India is ready to host the continental mega event was
refuted by his own president. Also, recently the IOA
president went to meet the sports minister Srabananda
Sonwal with senior vice-president Virender Nanavati and
some national federation officials but completely
ignored Mehta, IOA treasurer, and veteran sports
administrator Anil Khanna.
Khanna too was
displeased with the way the IOA president had agreed to
AIBA’s demand to give recognition to Boxing India
without consulting the house. Khanna shot a letter to
the IOA president and secretary saying: “There is lack
of understanding on the legal status of this new
organisation called Boxing India. I have strong views on
this subject. I do not wish to express my views through
this letter but would like to do so in the meeting of
the Executive Council (EC).
“It is urgently
requested that we have an emergent meeting of the EC and
give due importance to the views of all the office
IOA Divided Over 2019 Asian
Games Bid By IANS : 16th June 2014
NEW DELHI: There are clear indications of the senior
office-bearers of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA)
pulling in different directions even on a crucial issue
like bidding for the 2019 Asian Games.
IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta said he would
ascertain the views of the IOA members through mail
before deciding whether to bid for the Games or not.
This despite the fact IOA president N. Ramachandran
did not show much interest in bidding for the Games,
saying the IOA's main concern should be to make the
organisation financially sound, reducing its dependence
on government funds.
But Mehta shot off a letter
to all IOA members seeking approval whether to bid for
the Games since not much time left to call a General
Body Meeting. The deadline for submitting bids for the
2019 Asian Games is July 1.
Asked whether there
are any differences between him and the president over
hosting the 2019 Asian Games, Mehta said it is the House
which has to take a call.
"I cannot comment on
any differences between the president and the secretary
general. It is the house which has to take a decision.
So I had sent a letter to all the members of the IOA
seeking their consent over email to bid for the 2019
Asian Games," Mehta told IANS. "There is no guarantee
that the house will agree with me. It can be a no also.
We have to wait for a week to get reply from all the
members," he added.
Some IOA members are clearly
upset with the way the senior office-bearers are
squabbling over the 2019 Asian Games when they should be
addressing issues of training and selection of the
Indian contingent for the Commonwealth Games, which is
hardly a month away, and the Asian Games in September.
In the last one week, the president and secretary
general have spoken in different ways.
the IOA decision, it is for the government to decide
whether the country could afford a mega event when the
economy is in a bad shape," a senior IOA member told
IANS, not wanting to be identified.
signs of differences surfaced when Ramachandran decided
to go and meet the new union Sports Minister Sarbananda
Sonowal taking along only the senior vice-president
Virendra Nanavati and a couple of officials of the
National Sports Federations (NSFs) close to him,
ignoring secretary-general Rajeev Mehta and high-profile
treasurer Anil Khanna.
Ramachnadran's move has
clearly showed a clevage raising questions why he did
not take Mehta and Khanna with him when the two were
present in the capital.
"Ideally, an IOA
delegation with all office-bearers and senior members
should have met the sports minister to discuss the
various confronting the Olympic movement in the country,
and, even if it a courtesy call, he should have
presented a unified delegation before the minister,"
another member, associated with the sports movement for
over four decades, told IANS.
of a national sports federation was angry that the IOA
is not showing any interest in the two upcoming major
games and are busy in their turf wars.
Commonwealth games are not even a month away and so far
the kitting of the contingent has not been done. No one
knows how the athletes are going to be measured for
their trousers, shirts and blazers, it can't be done
overnight," said the official of long standing. India
in 2007 lost the bid for hosting this year's Asian Games
to Incheon, South Korea. The 2019 Asian Games were
originally awarded to Vietnam, who earlier this year
pulled out as the hosts, citing financial constraints.
Indonesia also offered to host the Games. In fact,
in November 2012, the Vietnamese capital city of Hanoi
beat Surabaya, Indonesia's second largest city, in the
race to host the Asian Games.
NEW DELHI: Infighting has broken
out in the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) with its
secretary general Rajeev Mehta questioning his president
N Ramachandran over the recognition of a new boxing
association without consulting the executive.
In a letter to Ramachandran, the
IOA secretary general asked why he had agreed to Amateur
International Boxing Association's (AIBA) decision to
provisionally recognise 'Boxing India' as the National
The AIBA (World Boxing Federation)
had recently handed provisional recognition to 'Boxing
India' -- the brainchild of two private business houses
-- after the world body derecognised Indian Boxing
Federation on the ground of possible manipulation of its
The AIBA had stated in its
communication to the IOA that Ramachandran had given
approval to its move.
Attempts to reach Ramachandran to
get his reaction did not fructify. Calls to his mobile
phone were unanswered.
In the strongly-worded, Mehta said
that the IOA president has no power under rules to give
the approval. He also said that the IOA should shut shop
if it was to give power of recognition of an NSF to an
international federation (AIBA in this case).
"... during our teleconversation on
this subject and various emails from AIBA and press
statements confirming that you have given your approval
to AIBA during your meeting with them in Lausanne. You
on my questioning flatly denied having given any such
approval for Boxing India in Lausanne," Mehta said in
the letter dated June 4.
"There is no power with
president/secretary general/treasurer to recognise any
federation. The power lies with General Assembly (of the
IOA). This may be noted strictly and we should not be
seen in violation of our own statutes," he said in the
letter with copies marked to all IOA Executive Committee
"By giving authority to
international federations to directly recognise NSFs in
India -- then IOA should shut down its office. This is
the responsibility of NOC (National Olympic Committee)
and not of the international federation."
Just after the AIBA granted
provisional recognition to 'Boxing India', Mehta had
said that the world boxing body had not consulted the
IOA and the move was not in consonance with
International Olympic Committee rules.
Mehta also contended that the AIBA
violated its own statutes while granting recognition to
"As per the statutes of AIBA in
rule 10.1(B), AIBA cannot recommend any National Sports
Federation for recognition until that NSF has an
approval of NOC/GOI/Sports Council of that country. Here
AIBA is in violation of its own statutes and we should
raise questions with AIBA.
"To use the name INDIA, it is
mandatory to have NOC (No Objection Certificate) from
Government of India, Ministry of Youth Affairs and
Sports and Ministry of Commerce. Hence, without NOC we
cannot allow the use of name INDIA and should respect
our law Law of Land."
In an earlier letter written on May
21, Mehta had also asked Ramachandran to sort out the
matter with the AIBA.
"The AIBA has stated in their
e-mail dated 19 May, 2014 that the President of Indian
Olympic Association has fully agreed with the AIBA
President that IOA would accept the organisation
selected by the AIBA without any condition.
"You have confirmed that you have
not given any commitment to AIBA. I request you to
kindly speak to AIBA and apprise about the stand of IOA
to sort out the matter at the earliest," Mehta said.
The IOA is also yet to form a
common view on the issue of India's possible bid for the
2019 Asian Games after Vietnam capital Hanoi withdrew
its hosting rights in April.
Mehta had said that the IOA would
want to bid for the Games while Ramachandran was
non-committal. Reports have quoted Sonowal as having
said that the government would support such a bid but
would wait for a presentation from the IOA.
ISLAMABAD: Defending Asian Senior Team Squash champions
Pakistan are the second seeds in the 17th Asian Team
Championship starting from June 11 in Hong Kong.
It was quite a surprising draw announced by the
Asian Squash Federation (ASF), as Pakistan is No 2 seed
while India, who just have one player Saurav Ghosal of
international ranking, were placed as top seeds, which
is quite surprising for everyone, as Malaysians have a
number of international players, but they were given
third seed and hosts were placed at No 4. Indians took
the liberty just because of ASF president Ramachandran,
who is an Indian, otherwise, Indians don’t deserve to be
ranked in top 4.
Pakistan female team is placed
at No 7 out of 10 participating countries while
Malaysian girls are hot favorites to lift the female
title. Pakistan’s preparations for the mega event look a
bit off the track, as No 1 player Nasir Iqbal is
struggling with fitness problems and carrying injury.
His recent performances speak volumes and put a very
serious question mark on his form.
scribe visited Mushaf Ali Mir Squash Complex on Monday
and talked with PSF secretary Group Captain Amir Nawaz
regarding Pakistan’s chances in the event, he said:
“Although Nasir is struggling due to a number of reasons
even then we have a very balanced side. Our No 2 Farhan
Mehboob is a world class and proven material so is
Farhan Zaman, who has recently won the PSA events
abroad. Danish is also a great fighter, even if Nasir
fails to provide winning start, we will have the back up
in place, who can win ties for the country.”
When asked about seeding system, Amir said: “Seeding are
done as per the PSA rankings and it is the Asian Squash
Federation which releases ratings. We are just
concentrating on winning each and every match which
comes in our way. Jamshed has done a remarkable job for
the last few months and we have spent millions of rupees
on players both male and females. This was for the first
time in the history of Pakistan squash that such a long
training camp was established for both male and female
players and that too under head coach. Now it is
players’ turn to pay back and help the country in
retaining the title. I am quite hopeful about the
chances of our female players as well. We have likes of
Maria Toor, Muqaddas Ashraf, Sammer Anjum and others so
I am confident they will perform and win glory for the
“We have provided world class
facilities to our players during the camp for which, I
am very grateful to PSF president Air Chief Marshal
Tahir Rafique Butt, who is always very kind. He never
objects whatever we demand from him. He has assured us
his full cooperation but he just wants players to play
their best and leave the rest,” Amir concluded.
Sharing his views, head coach Jamshed Gul said: I don’t
mind Pakistan team is placed as No 2 seeds but the thing
that matters for me is the performance. I have worked
very hard with the team along with Faheem Gul and we
expect good results from them. I agree Malaysia, Hong
Kong and even Indians are working very hard and they
have improved a lot since the last championship. They
have best available infrastructure and their players
have been focusing fully on playing.”
“Government must come forward and help the federation.
We need hefty amount of funds to completely turn our
fortunes. We have a number of plans, but to achieve all
these goals, we need government and corporate sector’s
support. If provided with sufficient amount of funds and
a latest equipped academy, it is my promise I will
produce a number of champions in next five years who
will help the country in regaining its lost squash
glory,” Jamshed concluded.
New Delhi: Launching a scathing attack on the
newly-approved `Boxing India`, secretary general of
Hockey India, Narinder Batra, today accused the ad-hoc
association of using money to get power which will have
an adverse effect on Indian sport.
The chairman of long-time Indian boxing sponsor
Monnet Ispat Limited, Sandeep Jajodia, and owner of
India`s World Series of Boxing franchise, Udit Sheth are
part of the consortium which has got the International
Boxing Association`s (AIBA) nod for provisional
representation and is most likely to get formal approval
as well. Batra is concerned that the move might set a
wrong precedent. "It is rumoured and
trust me there is no smoke without fire, that a big
amount has been given to the international federation to
formally approve Boxing India as a registered boxing
association. I have grave concern because it will
directly have a bearing on all the sports bodies in the
future," Batra told PTI.
"The reason behind it is that two business houses
are working together to form a federation and that
itself is questionable. If business houses sponsor a
sport, it`s fine but displaying this kind of money power
to buy and sell federations is a wrong step for Indian
sport," added Batra.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president N
Ramachandran has backed the new Boxing India and Batra
is not at all impressed.
"Not only the government, but our IOA president
should also take the issue very seriously. According to
our sources, he had gone to Lausanne to settle this
matter a month back. He met the AIBA chief Dr. Ching-Kuo
Wu and his only aim is to bring squash in the Olympic
fold. But he should not sacrifice Indian sports for his
vested interests," said Batra. "President saab if
you don`t have the spine then please don`t spoil Indian
sports. Don`t ruin Indian sports under IOC and OCA
It was on March 3 that the AIBA Executive Committee
decided to terminate India "due to serious violations of
the AIBA Statutes and Bylaws".
Following the termination, it was decided to
establish a new national federation in India with the
right group of people who would support the principles
of AIBA in terms of ethics and fairness. Batra, though,
opined that rules have been flouted and urged the new
government to take serious note of the matter.
"A new government has taken office and I would
like to urge the new sports minister through this
statement of mine that he should take this issue very
seriously and should stop this system of buying and
selling in sports," he said. Transstadia, who is
also part of the new Boxing India, owned the World
Series Boxing (WSB) franchise of Mumbai Fighters till
2012 before losses forced them to back off. Batra
stressed that the move to approve the new federation is
a way out to balance the losses.
"Now this new Boxing India association that has
been formed and is close to being legalised by the
International federation is probably an outcome of the
losses that that were incurred during an international
"The people who are in charge of this league have
been handed the federation as a gift by AIBA to make up
for their losses while staging the international league.
Is India a guinea pig which will be run by a
federation?," asked an angry Batra.
Indian boxers were barred from taking part in
international events last year and to make sure thay
they didn`t suffer any more, Ramachandran had appointed
the ad-hoc body. But Batra insisted the association is a
body of lies.
"They have not even taken an NOC by the government
to use the word India and Boxing India is already on the
table. Why have you made an Olympic association if the
international bodies have to recognise the federation.
They `care two hoots` for the athletes because they
don`t give them profit," concluded Batra.
The Asian Squash Federation named Saurav Ghosal for the
Dato Alex Lee Award after the Indian champion was
adjudged Outstanding Asian Men's Player of the Year
Ghosal's ranked No.1 in the Indian men's
team at the World championships in 2013 and steered the
team to the seventh position. He was a quarter-finalist
at the World Open; and highest ranked Asian male at
The Indian men's team comprising Ghosal,
Harinderpal Sandhu, Ramit Tandon, Mahesh Mangaonkar
along with coaches Cyrus Poncha and Gautam Das, were
also chosen for the 'Outstanding Men's Team of the Year
The Indian team attained their best
ever position of seventh (the best by an Asian country)
at the World Championships held in France.
presentation ceremony of the awards will be conducted
June 15, the penultimate day of the Asian Team
Championships in Hong Kong.
Dateline March 23rd --- Trailing two games to love and
later 10-4 in the fourth Saturday in their semifinal
match against Graham Bassett and Preston Quick, Manek
Mathur and Steve Scharff embarked on an 11-3 run to
rescue that game 15-13 and never looked back, taking the
fifth 15-7 and then convincingly out-playing and
out-thinking top seeds Michael Ferreira and Whitten
Morris 15-12 15-13 11-15 15-6 this afternoon in the
final round of the 79th edition of the U. S. National
Doubles Championship before an admiring crowd at the
Racquet & Tennis Club in mid-town Manhattan.
Morris and Ferreira play at a scorching pace that in
recent months has enabled them to barge through the
William White field without dropping a game and, more
impressively, to advance to the semis of the SDA pro
tour stop at Heights Casino just four weeks ago,
defeating Bernardo Samper /Phil Barker and U. S. Open
finalists Imran Khan and Mark Chaloner in the process.
They overpowered SDA superstar Ben Gould and nine-time
U. S. National Doubles champion Morris Clothier in four
games in the semis of this tournament, displaying their
characteristic amazing court coverage and withering
heat, and the pre-final expectation among most doubles
aficionados was that they would duplicate this success
in today’s final, especially in view of how wearing,
both physically and emotionally, the bottom-half
semifinal had been.
Wary of Mathur’s outstanding
weaponry, they focused the lion’s share of their attack
on Scharff, just as Bassett and Quick had done one round
earlier --- and just as Scharff had done in that
semifinal, he avoided getting into high-paced exchanges,
opting instead for responding lobs that increasingly
frustrated his opponents, forcing them either to
over-hit the ball (thereby allowing Mathur, the MVP by
far of the entire 29-team tournament, to impose his
multi-front brilliance on the action) or to aim too low,
with metallic results.
As the match wore on,
particularly after Mathur/Scharff came away with
airtight wins in the first two games (the second on an
impetuous Ferreira tin at 13-14 after a brief
tension-building delay while a new ball was warmed up),
it became apparent that Ferreira and Morris, for all
their athleticism and talent, had no Plan B, no
alternative approach to move to once it became apparent
that Scharff could handle their onslaught. By early in
the fourth, when Scharff’s growing confidence resulted
in his deftly sprinkling some corner winners amidst the
lobbing, Ferreira and Morris had effectively punched
themselves out, while Mathur and Scharff were
increasingly exerting control, even to the extent of
twice having mis-hits trickle to the front for winners,
in each case just as Ferreira and Morris seemed on the
verge of mounting a comeback.
When Mathur crushed
a winner down the middle to make the score 12-6, Morris
and Ferreira, whose fiery competitiveness has fueled so
many of their victories over the years (including a slew
of Silver Racquet crowns earned in this very venue), had
reached their limit, and they capitulated with three
consecutive match-ending early-point tins, the last of
which, on a despairing Ferreira serve-return, capped off
the Mathur/Scharff title run in their first-ever foray
as partners and gave Scharff, the reigning U. S. Mixed
Doubles champion with Natalie Grainger, a nice
companion-piece to the U. S. Century title he had won
with Sandy Tierney four weeks ago.
Egypt's world No3 Ramy Ashour celebrated his 50th
appearance in a PSA World Tour final in sensational
style, beating compatriot Mohamed Elshorbagy in an
electrifying climax of the Power Courts World Series
Finals in Richmond, Virginia, to claim the flagship
title for a second time.
Ashour, champion in
2007, came through 15-17, 11-7, 11-4, 11-5 in a titanic
63-minute tussle which was full to the brim of thrilling
rallies which delighted the crowd at the prestigious
It was the first time that two
Egyptians have met in the final of the PSA World Series
title decider and Cairo-based Ashour, whose past four
months have been injury plagued, said he was privileged
to take on his Alexandrian compatriot with the title on
chief N. Srinivasan rules cricket, his brother N.
Ramachandran rules the rest of Indian sport. V. Kumara
Swamy profiles the longtime sporting czar who was
recently elected president of the Indian Olympic
brother played tennis; the younger one liked squash. The
former N. Srinivasan rules cricket. And the latter N.
Ramachandran is in charge of other sports.
Ramachandran was in his teens when he started playing
squash at the Madras Cricket Club. He was a state-level
player for almost three decades, but his friends haven't
seen him wield a racquet for many years now. But the
65-year-old sports lover with his rimless glasses has
been holding the reins of the squash administration for
almost two decades.
didn't come as a surprise when "Rami" as his friends
call him was recently elected, unopposed, president of
the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), the 85-year old
organisation that has been mired in controversy after
the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
"Ramachandran has been an able administrator of squash
and he has also worked with the IOA in various
capacities for many years now. He will make a good
president. The fact that India has been re-admitted into
the IOC soon after his elevation is a good omen," says
Randhir Singh, former IOA secretary-general and member
of the International Olympic Council (IOC).
Soft-spoken Ramachandran, who like his brother wears his
religion on his forehead (marked by a red streak of
vermilion), has been seen by many as a "proxy candidate"
of Abhay Singh Chautala, who had to resign as IOA
president after the IOC de-recognised the Indian body.
But those who know Ramachandran say that he is certainly
not a puppet.
is in for a shock if he thinks that Ramachandran will
toe his line. If Chautala has any doubts, he has to
attend a meeting of the Squash Rackets Federation of
India (SRFI). People are too scared to even look him in
the eye," an IOA member in Delhi says. Ramachandran, who
is also the world squash federation (WSF) president,
attends SRFI meetings in his capacity as the head of the
Tamilnadu Squash Rackets Association (TSRA), but is said
to have the last word on almost every decision.
at the international level praise him for his
contribution to squash. "Rami has been a great leader of
the WSF and world squash. The campaign he led to get
squash into the Olympics was exemplary," WSF patron
Prince Tunku Imran, son of the king of Malaysia, says.
Ramachandran has virtually followed his brother in
rising through the ranks of national sports
organisations. Like his brother, who is now the
president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India
(BCCI) but was once its treasurer, Ramachandran was also
the treasurer of IOA. His family too is in sports
management. His wife, Surekha, is the president of the
Indian Triathlon Federation, while son T.R.
Narayanaswamy is its vice-president (as is
Ramachandran). His daughter, Babli, who has Down
Syndrome, is a Bharatanatyam dancer.
brothers are arguably the most powerful duo in the world
of Indian sports. Srinivasan is the head of the most
powerful cricket body in the country (some say of the
world), while Ramachandran controls every other
"Ramachandran now controls 90 per cent of all sports in
the country and Srinivasan controls 90 per cent of the
money in sports in India," says Rahul Kumar, a former
squash player and a longtime critic of Ramachandran.
Son of a
business entrepreneur, T.S Narayanaswami Iyer,
Ramachandran, like his brother, steers clear of
publicity. The brothers are said to be not on the best
of terms and chose their own ways after Ramachandran
resigned as the executive director of the family
concern, India Cements Ltd, in 2009, after selling his
stake to his brother.
4,000-crore company, the largest cement maker in south
India, is an active sponsor of several clubs and
tournaments in Chennai. It was the main sponsor of a
squash academy in Chennai, now called the Indian Squash
Academy, where many players were trained.
against Ramachandran accuses him of harbouring a
regional bias. Kumar believes that he has
"single-handedly destroyed squash in north India" by
promoting the Chennai academy. "You have to represent
Tamil Nadu if you want to make it to the Indian team.
Several talented youngsters have fallen by the wayside,"
of Ramachandran, on the other hand, claims that he
actually destroyed a "coterie" in Delhi and Mumbai that
controlled squash. "He has made squash accessible to
everybody," the SRFI member says.
But Kumar is
not convinced. He, along with several others, has filed
cases against Ramachandran alleging conflict of interest
and manipulation in the selection of players. Several
cases are slated to come up shortly. This includes one
related to the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar which
was given to him by the government in 2011. The petition
alleges that he fell short of many requirements that the
(retired) Raj Manchanda, a six-time national champion
who earlier worked as a government observer of the game,
says that he can't recall a single occasion when he
didn't provide an adverse report against the activities
of the SRFI.
controlling coaches to disaffiliating associations that
were opposed to him to harassing players who didn't want
to toe the SRFI line, he did everything. There were even
manipulations in the draws of tournaments," Manchanda
that Ramachandran has even broken the rules of the IOA.
According to Clause XXVIII(c) of the Memorandum and
Rules and Regulations of Indian Olympic Association, no
office-bearer of a sports association in a state can be
a member of another state sports body. Ramachandran,
however, continues to head both the Tamilnadu Cycling
Association and the TSRA.
Ramachandran's office didn't respond to the allegations.
Ghosal, India's highest ranked men's player and world
No. 18, agrees that under his stewardship, Chennai has
got world-class facilities for squash. He adds that
Ramachandran could have been more proactive in helping
more academies come up. "But it is not an ideal world,"
Ghosal, who has known Ramachandran for the last 10
very clear on what he wants and listens to a 'core'
group which is close to him. However, he sticks to the
decisions he makes and will not yield easily when he
makes up his mind," Ghosal stresses.
Meanwhile, Clean Sports India, an organisation of former
Indian Olympians, has shot off a letter to the IOC
asking it to look into the charges against Ramachandran.
"Let them probe the allegations and take a decision,"
athlete Ashwini Nachappa, president of the organisation,
of the Chennai squash fraternity are wary of saying
anything about Ramachandran. His favourite line when he
addresses players apparently is: "Players are temporary,
but the federation is there forever."
players' parents say that he can be more formidable than
his brother. "It is not the money but the power the
brothers enjoy," a parent says. "They want to be the
kingpins of sports."
they already are. Whether they will be the kings of
sports remains to be seen.
N. Ramachandran, the
newly elected Indian Olympic Association president has
his task cut out -- his first challenge is to get India
back into the Olympic movement and his wish is to see
that Indian flag is hoisted at the Sochi Winter
Olympics' closing ceremony.
"My first challenge is to
see that the ban is lifted from us and I wish and pray
that Indian tricolour at the closing ceremony of the
Sochi Winter Olympics," Ramachandran told Headlines
Today in an exclusive interview immediately after his
Ramachandran was elected
on Sunday in the IOA president unopposed along with
Rajeev Bhatia as its secretary general, Virender
Nanavati chosen as senior vice president and Anil Khanna
Ramachandran though chose
not to react when asked to react on court case coming up
against him in Delhi High Court. "No comments" was his
Elections were held for
the post of vice presidents and executive as 8 out of 9
candidates were chosen.
Akhilesh Das Gupta
(Badminton Association of India), Anurag Thakur
(Himachal Pradesh Olympic Association), B.P. Baishya
(Indian Weightlifting Federation),G.S. Mandher
(Wrestling Federation of India) Janardhan Singh Gehlot
(Rajasthan Olympic Association), Parminder Singh Dhindsa
(Cycling Federation of India) R.K. Anand (Jharkhand
Association of India) and Tarlochan Singh (Archery
Association of India).
Some serious case of
alleged misleading, forgery and manipulation are coming
up against Indian Association of India president elect N
Ramachandran (brother of BCCI president N Srinivasan)
that may put his position untenable and may put IOA into
a fix thereby threatening a further ban on India's
Olympic movement by IOC.
As many as 3 cases, one
already in the Delhi High Court and two more cases (not
Court cases as yet) are coming up against Ramachandran
While the first case is
of allegedly misleading the Indian government to get a
National Award in 2011 and is coming up for hearing in
Delhi High Court on February 21.
The PIL against him in
this case says N Ramchandran misled the Indian
government in getting Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Purashkar
(RKPP) in 2011 by the President of India. It alleges
that he had misled the Sports Ministry by not fulfilling
any of the 16 clauses needed to get the award. The PIL
is aimed at revocation of the award.
Second case -- that of
alleged Conflict of Interest -- may put him in clear
trouble and also the IOA if elected unopposed as
president on Feb 9th. This case is likely to come up
once he is elected the IOA President.
In this case of conflict
of interest, Ramachandran has violated the International
Olympic Committee's Code of Ethics. Ramachandran had
given an undertaking to World Squash Federation in 2012
that he had no commercial interest in the game and
designated himself just as patron of Squash and Racquet
Federation of India while in reality, he was at that
time and even now, the president of the SRFI.
He also did not mention
that he was/is the president of Tamil Nadu Squash &
Racquet Federation of India.
Most importantly, the IOC
code of conduct prohibits any candidate to contest
election if he has any conflict of interest in the
conduct of the federation or association.
Though Ramachandran had
mentioned that he has no financial interest in the game
of squash, the agreement (documents of which are in
possession of Headlines Today) between Tamil Nadu
Rackets Association and Sports Development Authority of
Tamil Nadu dated April 22, 2002; says in point 7 (iii)
The TNSRA shall be free to initiate steps to ensure
commercial viability, fixation of membership, one time
charges etc without compromising intent and purpose of
The third case pertains
to case of alleged forgery with documents that
prohibited Deepkia Pallikal from contesting a
tournament. The case may come up again in Delhi High
Ramachandran had told
Headlines Today that the case had been dismissed by the
High Court earlier but new and fresh facts have emerged
in this case.
SRFI misguided the Sports
Ministry with alleged forged documents before the Delhi
High Court and subsequently in Supreme Court in 2008 to
keep top squash player Deepika Pallikal out of the
contingent list due to their personal dislikes for her.
Headlines Today has a
copy of the original document of Long Term Development
Plan (LTDP) under CWG dated February 2008 sent by the
SRFI to the Sports Ministry and also the forged
documents dated May 2008 which suddenly had the rules
and regulations which didn't allow Pallikal to compete.
Leander Paes and
Pullela Gopichand were selected for the prestigious
Padma Bhushan awards, while Yuvraj Singh was among the
seven sportspersons chosen for this year’s Padma Shri
Dipika Pallikal, former Indian women’s
cricket captain Anjum Chopra, Sunil Dabas (Kabaddi),
Love Raj Singh Dharmshaktu (Mountaineering), H. Boniface
Prabhu (Wheelchair Tennis) and Mamta Sodha
(Mountaineering) were the other sports persons, selected
for this year’s Padma Shri awards.
recently became the first Indian to enter the top 10 in
the WSA rankings, the official women’s squash world
rankings. She is engaged to Indian cricketer Dinesh
A natural athlete, Dipika Pallikal
took a liking to squash at the age of nine after which
there was no looking back for this girl from Chennai.
Determined to make it big with support from her mother
Susan,she left the comforts of her
home at the age of 14 to train in Egypt under world
renownedcoach Amir Wagh.
excelled under his guidance and in a matter of four
years went on to win nine open titles and several other
national tournaments thereby firmly establishing herself
in the junior circuit. It was only a matter of time
before she became the number 1 player in the under 19
category and received a nomination for the “Young Player
of the Year” award at the World Squash Awards, 2009 for
her exceptional achievements.
didn’t lose her excellent touch as she moved on to the
senior circuit and walked away with the WISPA Indian
Challenger No. 5 and the Nepal Open titles in 2010. The
same year, she was also a part of the women’s team which
secured a bronze medal at the Asian Games.She became the 1st Indian to reach World No.1 in
Junior Under – 19 Rankings.
2011 2011 was
the a great year for this young squash player when she
claimed three prestigious WISPA titles – Orange County
Open (California), Dread Sports Series Tournament
(Washington) and Crocodile Challenge Cup (Hong Kong) and
advanced into the top 20 in world rankings.
She was also the 1st Indian to
reach Quarter Finals in a World Open Championship –
In recognition of her efforts, she
was awarded the L’Oreal Femina Best Sportsperson and the
NDTV 24/7 Rockstar best sportswoman awards of 2011
2012 (Arjuna Award) SHEscaled new heights in
the year 2012 and reached the finals of the Tournament
of Champions New York (Silver event) and the semi finals
of the Australian Open (Gold event), becoming the only
Indian to achieve such remarkable feats.
She later helped India clinch a
gold medal and its maiden women’s title at the Senior
Asian Team Squash Tournament held in Kuwait in May 2012.She also became the 1st Indian to reach top-10 in
the World in 2012.
However, the crowning glory for
Dipika came when the Indian Government acknowledging her
consistent string of remarkable performances, presented
her with the Arjuna Award the 1st player to get it at
the young age of 20.
2013 In 2013,
she displayed great tenacity in the Meadowood Pharmacy
Open (Canada) to set up a final against the second
seeded Joey Chan and won the contest in straight games
taking her total WSA title’s tally to six. Currently
training under her coach Sarah Fitz-Gerald (former world
number squash player) Dipika aspires to carve a
formidable image for India in the international arena by
becoming the number 1 squash player in the world.2014
(Padma Shri Award)
Dipika Pallikal gets Padma Shri
Award (2nd squash player after Bhubneshwari Kumari) on
the republic day 26th Janaury 2014.
Joined the campaign initiated by
the Election Commission to spread awareness and
encourage eligible voters to enrol during the Summary
Revision and exercise their right to vote.
Honoured with the India Today Woman
in Sports award, 2013.
Featured in Femina magazine’s list
of the 10 most Beautiful Women and the People’s
magazine’s list of the 40 most Beautiful Women, of 2013.
Forerunner in the campaign to
include squash in Olympic 2020.
Invited by ITC Classmate to deliver
a talk at the Ryan International School where the suave
athlete, who is pursuing a degree in English Literature,
while emphasizing on the importance of formal education,
advised the 5000 odd young listeners, to follow their
dreams no matter how unconventional their career choices
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