Only the Gymnastic Federation of India (GFI) has the right to select the Indian team for next month's World Championship in Artistic Gymnastics, the sport's global body said on Monday.
The Sports Ministry last week wrote to the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) to allow the committee, headed by Indian Olympic Association (IOA), to select the team for the tournament, which is also an Olympic qualifier, and scheduled to be held in Stuttgart, Germany from 4 to 13 October.
Replying to the letter, FIG Deputy Secretary-General Nicolas Buompane said: "The decision of who is part of the delegation at our World Championships and the right to register athletes for these events is the only prerogative of our member. As long as GFI is in good standing with us, we can and shall therefore only accept registrations duly signed by their President or Secretary-General we recognise. We are confident that they will organise fair qualifications respecting their rules and statues."
The selection trials organised by GFI to select a six-member team for the World Championships was postponed early this month after the Sports Authority of India (SAI) requested the IOA to conduct the trials.
The GFI, headed by Sudhakar Shetty, has the backing of the world body even though it remains de-recognised by the Sports Ministry since 2011.
In his letter to sports ministry's Joint Secretary Inder Dhamija, Nicolas said: "...over the last years, we have tried to support our National Federation in India (GFI) and helped to solve their internal problems, which seem to be never ending. It is in this sense that we have also as far as possible supported the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) in this endeavour."
"We have threatened GFI twice to suspend them, should they not organise elections in time and respecting their Statutes. We shall suspend them, should they not held their elections as agreed. We are therefore grateful to the IOA and their respective Committee to have undertaken this very important step in cooperation with and the support of GFI," he added.
"At the same time, it is also our duty to guarantee the independence of our members and protect them from any interference. This is the reason why we continue to recognize GFI and its President Mr. Sudhakar Shetty as the only member in India. Inspite of all the problems, they are active, have promising gymnasts, good coaches and international judges."
FIG hoped that once the GFI holds its election, the mess in Indian gymnastics will be over. "We very much regret the ongoing fighting within GFI which seems to have started with the query concerning the Secretary General who was replaced against his will. Such internal tensions and court cases are always to the detriment of the athletes and destroy the common efforts for development of the whole gymnastics family in India. We sincerely hope, that with the new elections, this shall now come to an end."
The selection trials will now be conducted by the GFI at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in New Delhi on Monday.
Updated Date: Sep 16, 2019 20:00:58 IST