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Handball out of National Games? At least for now


Express News Service

CHENNAI: Hundreds of handball payers will be affected if the sport is not part of the National Games this time. Because of the ongoing tussle between two factions, it doesn’t figure on the list that has details about venues and events to be hosted. Secretaries of the warring factions also confirmed the development but said they were not officially told by the authorities as yet. With close to a week left for the Opening Ceremony on September 29, another prominent sport missing from the list is taekwondo.

The decision, if not reversed, will affect more than 350 handball players, who have already started preparations by attending camps in their respective states. It is learnt that the players may file a petition with the court. Players feel, that since the Games are being held after seven years, participation of athletes should have been worked out by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the sports ministry.

Two versions of handball were proposed at the Games — beach and indoor events. As per the previous schedule, beach handball was scheduled to begin on September 30 in Surat while the indoor event was supposed to commence on October 7 in Vadodara. 

Earlier, the factions — Handball Federation of India (HFI) and Handball Association India (HAI) — had sent their respective entries to the IOA for the event. “Players will be the biggest losers if handball does not find a place in the National Games. The players have waited for a long time to compete in it. The blame will be on the IOA and union sports ministry if the players miss out on the chance to compete,” Tejraj Singh, secretary-general of HAI, told this daily.

Pritpal Singh Saluja, secretary-general of HFI, also echoed the sentiments. “Why should players suffer? They have worked hard for this opportunity and now they are being deprived of a chance to exhibit their skills. If not allowed to play, the athletes will miss out on rewards like cash prizes and government jobs as well,” Singh said.IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta, who last week said the issue will be resolved in two days, didn’t respond to queries.

Gujarat men, West Bengal women clinch TT gold

Favourites Gujarat men’s table tennis team clinched gold without dropping a single set in the final against Delhi while West Bengal beat Maharashtra in the women’s final of the 36th National Games in Surat on Wednesday. By doing so, the teams became the first gold medallists of this edition of the Games. Maharashtra and West Bengal took the men’s bronze while Tamil Nadu and Telangana claimed the women’s bronze.

Results (Finals)

Men: Gujarat beat Delhi 3-0 (Manav Thakkar bt Sudhanshu Grover 11-3, 13-11, 14-12; Harmeet Desai bt Payas Jain 11-7, 11-3, 12-10; Manush Shah bt Yashansh Malik 11-4, 11-9, 11-4).
Women: West Bengal beat Maharashtra 3-1 (Ayhika Mukherjee bt Swastika Ghosh 11-3, 11-5, 11-3; Sutirtha Mukherjee lost to Reethrishya Tennison 9-11, 11-13, 9-11; Mouma Das bt Diya Chitale 6-11, 16-14, 10-12, 14-12, 11-6; Sutirtha Mukherjee bt Swastika Ghosh 11-4, 11-13, 11-8, 10-12, 11-6).

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