Indian Judo Federation setback as Sports Ministry refuses to approve 2021-2022 national championships in April

The Sports Ministry has rejected a request from the Judo Federation of India (JFI) to hold the postponed 2021-2022 National Youth Championships until April 30 this year.

The 2021-2022 national competition was originally scheduled to take place before March 31.

New developments further expose the capabilities of JFI. Disapproval is also a major setback for India’s promising judokas as they look to showcase their talents in national competitions, according to a national judo coach.

“JFI was supposed to host the 2021-2022 senior and junior tournaments by March 31, but due to infighting among JFI officials, the tournament could not be organised,” the national coach revealed. “This year’s two major events – the Birmingham Commonwealth Games and the Hangzhou Asian Games – have affected the preparations of top athletes.”

According to JFI Secretary General Manmohan Jaiswal, the national championships will be held in Andhra Pradesh to identify potential athletes for the Commonwealth Games.

“A national championship would be worthless without the approval of the sports ministry,” Jaswal said. “JFI will conduct an open national selection trial in the senior group to select potential Commonwealth Games candidates. Final selection will be made in June.”

Jaiswal said the open national selection trial will be held at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in Delhi from April 23 to 25. Jaiswal added that the trials will give athletes a chance, as the top eight athletes in each weight group will be shortlisted for training camp.

JFI is assigned six weight classes, three of which are in the Commonwealth Games women’s division. However, JFI has yet to decide which weight categories it will send to the Commonwealth Games.

An international judo player said the sports ministry had not taken action against the JFI’s errant officials despite breaching the 2011 National Sports Code on transparency and good governance.

In preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Japan last year, the sports ministry has invested heavily in bringing elite judo athletes to the international stage.

“This year should build on the good work of 2021 by sending top athletes to international competitions,” the international said. “But so far, no players have played internationally.”

Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee


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