IOA clears 523-strong contingent

The Indian Olympic Association on Tuesday released an approved official list of 523 athletes (276 men and 247 women) across 36 disciplines for the Asian Games, with some surprise inclusions and high-profile exclusions including football and the men’s basketball team.

Interestingly, while the IOA list had 52 athletes in track & field making it the largest group of all sports, the list by name announced by the Athletics Federation of India has only 51 names.

The biggest debate has been around the non-clearance of the football teams — both men and women —with the IOA sticking to its criteria of a top-eight finish in the previous edition. The AIFF had asserted on Monday that it was willing to bear the cost of participation but a 2015 Sports Ministry policy — listing the selection criteria for individuals and teams in international competitions — makes it clear that there would be no ‘no cost to government’ participation in multi-discipline events.

Also unlucky to miss out is the men’s basketball team that finished ninth out of 15 sides in the 2014 edition. The women, though, make the cut having managed a decent sixth place finish. Interestingly, both the women’s handball and volleyball teams have been included with the IOA strictly adhering to its own policy even though there is little chance of either managing a medal in Jakarta.

The surprise inclusions are Kurash, Pencak Silat and Sambo — all different forms of martial arts and included in the Asiad programme for the first time, and soft tennis where India did not field a team in the previous edition and managed to reach just the second round only in men’s doubles in 2010.

Also interesting is the fact that 18 entries — in badminton, athletics and shooting — have been listed as pending accreditation despite the IOA submitting a long list of 906 athletes across 40 sports to the ministry last month.

Given that the last date for entry-by-name was June 30, it remains to be seen whether the accreditations are pending due to late entry or some other reason and how the IOA handles the issue.

Disciplines cleared (with number of athletes):

Archery (16), Athletics (51), Badminton (20), Basketball (12), Boxing (10), Bowling (6), Canoe-Kayak–sprint/slalom (19), Cycling (15), Equestrian (4), Fencing (4), Gymnastics (10), Golf (7), Handball (16), Hockey (36), Judo (6), Kabaddi (24), Karate (2), Kurash (14), Pencak Silat (22), Roller Skating (4), Rowing (34), Sailing (9), Sambo (6), Sepak Takraw (24), Shooting (28), Squash (8), Swimming/Diving (11).

Tennis (12), Taekwondo (5), Triathlon (4), Soft Tennis (10), Table Tennis (10), Volleyball (28), Weightlifting (5), Wrestling (18) and Wushu (13).

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