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Waiting for NOC to host Asian meet, handball body threatens to protest


Vinayak Padmadeo

New Delhi, June 1

There have been several instances in the past when wronged athletes have sat on a dharna in front of government offices. Five years back, the para-table tennis team had descended upon the Sports Authority of India (SAI) headquarters, demanding the right to represent the country.

For the first time, a national sports federation (NSF) may sit on a dharna. The Handball Federation of India (HFI) has threatened to protest outside the Sports Ministry offices after failing to get a response to its request for a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to host the Asian Men’s Club League Handball Championship.

HFI president A Jaganmohan Rao today wrote to Sports Minister Anurag Thakur asking him to expedite the process as there is very little time left for the visiting teams to seek visas. The championship is to be held on June 22-30 in Hyderabad.

Nine teams —T-Sports Club of India, Al Noor Club and Al Safa Club of Saudi Arabia, Al Arabi Club and Al Wakra Club of Qatar, Al Qadsyia Club and Al Kuwait Club of Kuwait, Mes Kerman Club of Iran and Al Najma Club of Bahrain — are likely to take part in the tournament.

Technical officials from Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Iraq, Norway, Iran, Japan, Oman, Qatar and Uzbekistan are also scheduled to travel to India for the meet.

Rao wrote to Thakur that that the event would be organised without any cost to the government. “We have got the permission from the Government of Telangana and Sports Authority of Telangana State,” he wrote.

Rao added that the federation also sent the “request letter” and “filled application form” for inviting foreign teams to India to the “Deputy Secretary, MYAS” on May 25.

HFI executive director Anandeshwar Panday said officials would sit on a dharna if the NOC is not received. “We are not asking for any money. All we need is the NOC which will help the teams get visas. If they don’t give us the NOC then there are chances that a few teams or individual players and staff may not be able to travel to Hyderabad,” Panday told The Tribune.

“We cannot understand the reason behind this delay. We will wait for a few more days and if we don’t get the NOC then we will sit on a dharna in protest,” he added.

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