World Taekwondo calls SAI selection meet unauthorised

Tribune News Service

Vinayak Padmadeo

New Delhi, May 12

It seems there is no end to the woes of India’s taekwondo players. After failing to participate in the Tokyo Olympics qualifiers, India’s taekwondo players were sent back from the Poomsae World Championships last month for falling foul of South Korea’s vaccine protocol.

Their participation in the Asian Championships is also under a cloud with World Taekwondo questioning the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) authority to conduct the selection trials. As per a Delhi High Court direction, India Taekwondo cannot select a team since it is not a recognised body. SAI, which was told to step in, called for the trials for the event. The trials will be held from May 22 at SAI’s Lucknow centre followed by a camp for the Asian Championships.

However, World Taekwondo has issued a letter saying that any team selected at SAI’s trials will not be recognised by the world body.

“As per WT Rules, only WT’s recognised member in India, India Taekwondo, is authorized to conduct selection and dispatch teams to such WT events,” the director general of World Taekwondo, Jeongkang Seo, said in his letter to India Taekwondo. “This fact was previously communicated to India’s Ministry of Youth and Sport. Therefore, be advised that any such event competition by WT Rules will not accept teams selected at non-IT events, and there will be no ranking points available for non-IT teams,” Seo added.

‘Players gutted’

Seo’s letter has once again rocked the taekwondo community as many had almost completed their arrangements to travel to Lucknow for the trials.

“No one knows what will happen next. It is very hard on the players,” said a coach. “Their careers are on the line. No one knows how the team will be selected.”

Another coach said: “This matter defines this sport in India. These officials just issue letters, and players get treated like dirt. These decisions hamper careers. Unfortunately, these officials have no understanding about how heartbroken our players are at this time.”

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