PANAJI: Despite India’s stellar performance at the recent Asian Games in Hangzhou, where the Indian volleyball team surprised many, the sport will not be featured in the National Games 2023, which is set to commence in Goa from October 26. The decision, made by the ad-hoc committee appointed by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to oversee volleyball’s administration in India, stems from concerns about the fair selection of participating teams for the National Games.
The ad-hoc committee, which was established in mid-June, faces a challenging task. The committee was responsible for both conducting the elections of the Volleyball Federation of India and selecting the eight teams for the National Games 2023. However, the absence of clearly defined qualification criteria has left the committee in a quandary.
S. Gopinath, a former international volleyball player and a member of the IOA’s ad-hoc committee told Sportstar, “We don’t have an undisputed criteria to qualify the teams. If we select eight teams, we should be able to defend it. That is the problem faced by the ad-hoc committee.”
The IOA’s guidelines stipulate that National Games teams should be selected based on the rankings from the last National championships. However, the last Nationals were conducted by the unauthorized Volleyball Federation of India (VFI) in February in Guwahati, which led to a lack of consensus.
Another option was for the ad-hoc committee to conduct a National championship to determine the participating teams, but time constraints, financial limitations, and other logistical hurdles made this unfeasible. Gopinath explained, “We are only a temporary body, a lot has to be done, a lot of money is involved (to hold Nationals). And the National Games dates have already been announced.”
He added, “So, whichever yardstick is adopted, definitely, we will be drawn to the court, and the competition might get stalled. And the elections will get delayed.”