SAF Games runs into rough weather
Alleging 'hijacking' of badminton event from Shillong to Guwahati, Meghalaya threatens to back out as co-host
From A Correspondent
Shillong, Jan 6: The South Asian Federation Games seems to have run into rough weather.
Alleging that the badminton event has been "hijacked" by Assam, a fuming Meghalaya government today said it is exploring the possibility of totally withdrawing as co-host of the 12th edition of the South Asian Federation Games 2016.
Meghalaya State Olympic Association (MSOA) working president John F Kharshiing has written a letter to the Government of India and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), seeking their intervention into the matter.
"We have just been informed by senior officials of the Government of Meghalaya that in view of the unreasoble decision to shift the badminton event from Shillong to Guwahati, the Government of Meghalaya is exploring the probability of totally withdrawing from co-hosting the 12th SAF Games ,2016," Kharshiing said in the letter to Injeti Srinivas, Director General, SAI, and CEO, 12th South Asian Games, N Ramachandran, President, IOA, Rajeev Mehta, Secretary General, IOA and Rakesh Gupta, Joint Secretary, IOA.
The MSOA working president informed that a high level meeting of the Meghalaya government will be held in the next few days to discuss the matter and that the government is seriously exploring the probability of totally withdrawing from co-hosting the intertiol event.
The eight disciplines origilly allotted to Meghalaya are badminton, table tennis, archery, boxing, judo, taekwondo, wushu and women's football. Assam was allotted 15 disciplines.
The Games are scheduled to be held from February 5 to 16.
Earlier, on Monday, the president of Meghalaya State Badminton Association, Dr Werlok Kharshiing alleged that ex-Assam Minister and now BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is president of the Assam Badminton Association, is primarily responsible for 'hijacking' the discipline from Shillong to Guwahati.
Dr Kharshiing also pointed fingers at Badminton Association of India president, Akhilesh Das Gupta, who is also the vice-president of India Olympic Association and chairman of the Games Technical Conduct Committee (GTCC), for allegedly sabotaging Meghalaya's bid for badminton.
The MSBA president also felt that since Union Sports Minister Sarbanda Sonowal hails from Assam, it did not help Meghalaya's cause.