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India’s elite judo players stare at uncertain future, no camp for Commonwealth Games

Sushila Devi won silver in the women's 48 kg weight class in Judo at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games
Sushila Devi won silver in the women's 48 kg weight class in Judo at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games
Navneet Singh

India’s elite judo players preparing for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games as well as the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games are staring at an uncertain future, says an international judo player preparing for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“We don’t know anything about the national camp or selection criteria either for the Commonwealth Games or the Asian Games,” the international judo player said. “The open selection trials were conducted in Delhi from April 23 to 25 but there wasn’t any official statement regarding the national camp.”

A day before the start of the open national selection trials at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Indoor Sports Complex, the sports ministry derecognised the Judo Federation of India (JFI) for non-compliance in holding fresh elections in February 2022. The annual recognition of JFI will only be invoked after fresh elections.

Bronze medalist Rajwinder Kaur of India (left) during the medal ceremony for the Women’s +78kg Judo final at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games (Getty Images)
Bronze medalist Rajwinder Kaur of India (left) during the medal ceremony for the Women’s +78kg Judo final at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games (Getty Images)

In the absence of JFI, open national selection trials were conducted under the supervision of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) ad-hoc panel.

More than 400 competitors competed at the three-day open national selection trials held this week in Delhi. According to a senior coach, the top seven in each of the selected weight categories for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and 2022 Asian Games were selected. The SAI ad-hoc panel will inform the selected probables about the dates of the camp shortly.

“The final selection for the Commonwealth Games will be done during the camp before the July 15 deadline to send the entries by name. The selection trials for the Asian Games will be conducted later,” the coach added.

At the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, India won four medals, including one in men’s group. Judo was scrapped from the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia. However, the discipline will feature at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games starting July 28.

The organizing committee of the 2022 Commonwealth Games allotted six weight categories to India, including three in the women’s group. While 60 kg, 66 kg and below 100 kg are the three weight categories allotted to the men’s group, 48 kg, 57 kg and 63 kg are the three weight groups allotted to the women’s section for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Sushila Devi Likmabam seals Tokyo 2020 berth in judo 🇮🇳👏The Indian judoka has been awarded the continental quota in the women’s extra-lightweight (48kg) division 🥋💪#sushiladevilikmabam #tokyo2020 #tokyoolympics #india #Judo https://t.co/sUsyzvm6Kj

Manipur’s Sushila Devi, winner of 48 kg silver at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, topped the field at the open national selection trials.

“She was far better than her rivals in the 48 kg group. We hope she will be able to maintain her fitness in time for the final selection trials in coming weeks,” the national coach said.

Edited by Steffi

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