The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has opted to remove handball from the National Games 2022 calendar as a result of factional conflict within the federation.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has opted to remove handball from the National Games 2022 calendar as a result of factional conflict within the federation. For both the indoor and handball competitions, all the necessary arrangements were done in Gujarat. However, in spite of the court acknowledging the former federation, Handball Federation of India (HFI) as the legitimate authorized authority to pick teams, the Handball Association of India (HAI) intervened in the process. Owing to this, the indoor and outdoor handball events are canceled and won’t be a part of the 36th National Games which is happening after a gap of seven years.
The indoor handball event was scheduled to take place at the Sama Indoor Sports Complex in Vadodara, while Surat was going to host the beach handball competition at the vastly popular Dumas beach. The beach handball was slated to begin from September 30 to October 4, whereas the indoor event was going to start on October 7 and run through October 12. The men’s Senior Nationals were held in Jaipur in March, while the women’s nationals were conducted in Hyderabad in April, with the HFI selecting eight top teams from each category. The men’s and women’s categories for both indoor and outdoor events were scheduled to feature the top eight teams from the National Games’ previous iteration. The indoor event comprises teams with 16 players, whereas the beach event has teams of 10 players.
A senior official from the IOA mentioned that the factionalism within the Handball Federation of India was a factor in the decision to remove handball from the programme last week. The IOA even received entries from two organizations claiming to be in charge of governing the sport in the nation. He further added that, “So, around five or six days ago, we decided to drop handball from the National Games programme because of problems within the federation.”
A total of 32 teams were set to compete in the Handball events in Gujarat. The dropping of the event from the games will certainly be a huge loss for the athletes who were going to participate in the competition. One of the national players from host state Gujarat said, “This decision is extremely distressing and sets a bad precedent for sports. Almost all sports are plagued with issues of rival factions and politics. Will it then be that in years to come we will not have National Games at all? What is the fault of the players, who spend the best years of their lives trying to learn the sport and honing their talent? If the national body cannot resolve such issues even for the interest of the game, the government must step in or the courts must.”