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Manipuri Wushu players, coach left out of Asiad squad

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Officials alleged that Manipur coach and players were excluded on “whimsical grounds”

Imphal, Sep 16, 2023- Manipuri Wushu players and coach have been excluded from the India squad for the 19th Asian Games starting September 23 at Hangzhou, China, officials said here on Saturday, adding that the players and the coach were excluded on “whimsical grounds”.

A Manipur government official said that Hanjabam Karnajit Sharma and Leimapokpam Sanatombi Chanu from Manipur, both reigning national champions and undergoing training at Patiala, did not find their names in the India squad despite being selected for the trials.

Coach Mayanglambam Sachidananda has also been excluded from the national squad for the third consecutive time despite being the most senior and experienced coach, who has produced several national and international champions, the official said.

Apparently, the players were dropped from the India squad on the grounds that they have no international tournament achievements to show.

Officials in the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, who are responsible for the selection, have apparently made the Moscow Wushu Star Championship 2023 as the criteria for selection without any formal notification to that effect.

“The two wushu athletes’ dream to compete at the Asian Games representing the country has been snatched away by a whimsical decision of the selectors concerned. It has been a devastating blow. Besides world championships, Asian Games is the most reputed competitive platform as the game is yet to be included in the Olympics,” the official said.

Mayanglambam Amitkumar, a Wushu coach and a former international player from Manipur, has appealed to the Ministry to reconsider its decision.

He feels the performances of the players at the trials should take precedence for the country to garner medals in the Asian Games.

Amitkumar said, “In this scenario, the trials conducted by the federation should take precedence ahead of the Moscow tournament. It doesn’t make sense to send underperforming players instead of the best players. Priority should be given to the best performers to represent the nation.”

Meanwhile, the Wushu Association of India, as well as the Sports Minister of Manipur has written to the Sports Ministry to reconsider its decision and consider including the two Manipuri players and the coach.

“The adage that Manipur is a powerhouse of sports in the country suffers a serious blow as two reigning national champions and India’s seasoned coach, who has produced a number of international and national champions, are left out of the Indian squad,” a sports official in Manipur said. (Agency)

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