Malhotra slams sports ministry's double standards

New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) Archery Association of India (AAI) president Vijay Kumar Malhotra Thursday slammed the government for its double standards against the sports body.

Malhotra told reporters that the ministry recently in response to an RTI application said that it recognises him as the president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) but not recognise him as the AAI president and has also derecognised the archery association.

"It is very surprising that recently in response to an RTI, the ministry said that they recognise me as the president of the IOA. But they don't recognise me as the AAI president and have also derecognised the AAI," said Malhotra.

"It is a very complicated and confusing situation. But world body FITA does not have any bar on the age and tenure guidelines," he added.

The government derecognised the AAI last year after the 81-year-old Malhotra was elected the president violating the sports ministry code that has limited office-bearers' age to 70 years and tenure to three terms.

The veteran BJP politician, however, said that the government recognition hardly matters.

"We have the full recognition of the international body, FITA, and we are holding all the tournaments (national and ranking) as it is."

"In fact, we will also be participating in almost all the international competitions (about 12-13) under the Indian flag this year. So, Government's recognition or derecognition doesn't matter much," said Malhotra after the AAI's executive committee meeting here.

Malhotra said that since the government has stopped sponsoring the national tournaments, the AAI is trying to get sponsors on its own.

"As far as international tournaments are concerned, the government directly gives money to the archers. Otherwise, all the national and ranking tournaments we are financing," he said.

Malhotra also said that the AAI has recommended South Korean Chae Woong Lim as the recurve coach for the national team.

Chae has been working with Indian archers on and off since 2002 and is currently employed with the Indian Army at the Army Institute of Sports in Pune.