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2 Indian judokas suspended for allegedly entering room of a foreign female athlete at 2021 Junior World Judo Championships

First-round bout of Jatin at the Italian Junior World Judo Championships in 2021. (File picture. Credits IJF)
First-round bout of Jatin at the Italian Junior World Judo Championships in 2021. (File picture. Credits IJF)
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Navneet Singh

Two over-enthusiastic Indian judokas have been suspended for “improper conduct” during 2021 Olbia Junior World Judo Championships held in Italy, Manmohan Jaiswal, general secretary of the defunct Judo Federation of India (JFI), said on Saturday, May 28.

Arun and Jatin, members of the Indian team, competed at the World Championships in men’s 73kg and 60kg weight categories respectively in Italy last year. Both Arun and Jatin are alleged to have entered the room of a female American athlete thrice without her permission.

The incident took place on October 4, 2021, the International Judo Federation (IJF) said in an email to the national judo governing body.

The world governing body first shot an email to the JFI in November last year. The incident was shoved under the carpet by team officials until the IJF sent another reminder. The last and final reminder was in April 2022.

The international body asked the JFI to take disciplinary action against the erring athletes. Since the world governing set April 15, 2022 as the deadline, both Jatin and Arun were suspended for two years from competing in events sanctioned by IJF.

According to Jaiswal, the three coaches who accompanied the team have also been suspended for two years to avoid international embarrassment.

“We had no other option but to suspend both the athletes and officials to avoid the wrath of the world body. The IJF was repeatedly sending reminders to update them on the disciplinary actions taken against the athletes and officials,” Jaiswal said.

Praveen Thakur, the Indian team coach with the men’s squad at the Italian Junior World Championships, played down the incident of entering a foreign athlete's room without permission. He insisted that the Indian athletes had only knocked on the door and didn’t enter the room.

“I came to know about the incident from USA team officials in Italy. We apologized and the issue was resolved then,” the national judo coach said.

On being asked why the Indian athletes knocked on the door of the foreign female athlete, Thakur said that Arun and Jatin wanted to inquire about the playing kit the USA team was using during the tournament.

Before the suspension, a notice was sent to Jatin and Arun on April 4, 2022 and a reminder on April 7, 2022, to explain their conduct at the Italian competition last year. Both the players and coaches were suspended for two years on April 14.

However, the president of JFI revoked the ban on April 19 and allowed the athletes to compete in the domestic trials for Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

“Since the matter was resolved in Italy, we approached the president as he has more powers. The ban was revoked,” the coach added.

Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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