India's rising hopes tempered by off-field bickering

Thu Sep 11, 2014 3:33am EDT
 
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By Sudipto Ganguly

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India are convinced they can improve on their Asian Games medals tally from Guangzhou but financial concerns and other controversies off the field may dampen their aspirations for Incheon later this month.

Cricket-obsessed India seldom tastes success in other sports on the world stage but the quadrennial multi-sports event should be the perfect stage for its athletes to gain recognition.

India finished eighth on the medal table at the 2002 and 2006 Asiads and improved to sixth in Guangzhou, bagging 65 medals - their best ever haul.

However, with a population of 1.2 billion, India should be winning a lot more medals.

Buoyed by the results in Guangzhou and the decent showing at the recent Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) proposed a jumbo contingent for the Games in Incheon, west of Seoul.

However, the proposed size of the delegation met resistance form the Sports Authority of India (SAI), which oversees and funds training and participation of athletes.

SAI officials wanted only real medal hopefuls to be on the plane to South Korea and the stalemate eventually needed the intervention of the Prime Minister's Office.

There were other hiccups in India's build-up to the Incheon Games.   Continued...