The Telegraph
Thursday , August 15 , 2013
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Stakeholders’ tussle hurts sports in Assam

Guwahati, Aug. 14: Multiple associations trying to control sports in Assam is hurting the cause of sportspersons.

For instance, although not an Olympic sport, karate is in the midst of a tussle between United Karate-Do Association, Assam (UKAA) and All Style Karate Association (ASKA).

“It was in 2003 that karate was first being recognised by the Assam Olympic Association (AOA) and in 2005 the inclusion of the game in the 33rd National Games here was announced. With numerous associations around, the AOA asked all to come under one banner. ASKA was then recognised by the AOA and we all came under them. But internal politics and conflicts after the games led to everyone going their own way,” UKAA secretary Nagen Bongjang said.

Led by Congress leader Bharat Narah, UKAA has been recognised by the AOA since 2007.

“UKAA is affiliated to the All India Karate-Do Federation. We have been organising a number of championships including the recently concluded nationals in Guwahati,” Bongjang said.

Refuting the allegation, Manoj Hazarika, secretary of ASKA, said, “UKAA is recognised by AOA because of political support. Our karatekas performed well in the 33rd National Games but were not allowed to take part in the next edition. We were also barred from taking part in the state games at Nagaon in 2011.”

Swimming, too, has borne the brunt of a long rivalry between the Assam Swimming Association and the breakaway Swimming Association of Assam.

Promising swimmers were denied berths in national championships.

“I was barred from participating in the junior nationals in Jaipur in 2004. The same year, the Swimming Federation of India did not allow me to take part in the senior nationals because of the feud. Ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, I was again barred from the senior nationals,” said ace swimmer Fariha Zaman, who hails from Assam.

Fariha holds the national record in the 50-metre backstroke. Elvis Ali Hazarika, like many in the fraternity, is distraught.

“It’s sad when one toils hard in the pool but is barred from a national meet. There have been instances when no team has been sent to the sub-junior, junior or senior nationals,” Hazarika, a former international swimmer, said.

“When we started there was only one association and that’s why we did well on the bigger stage,” Hazarika added.

“It’s a disgrace to be associated with the sport now. I have never been asked to help the youngsters,” says ace swimmer and former international Mithoo Baruah.

Veteran sports organiser Premadhar Sarma feels there should be one state unit affiliated to a national sport federation.

Body-building, too, has a number of state associations. “It’s not an Olympic sport because of which there are innumerable federations worldwide while a number of state bodies have popped up,” said Bhabajyoti Goswami, secretary of the Assam Body-builders and Fitness Association.