No smiles please, IOA tells athletes

New Delhi: Unusual as it may sound, but flashing a wide smile while getting clicked proved costly for several Indian track and field athletes, as their accreditations for the upcoming Asian Games got rejected by the organisers.

Nineteen athletes and two officials were told by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to resend their photos in proper format immediately to process their accreditations.

The deadline for accreditation application is over, but the IOA assured that the organisers would consider these cases if the mistakes were rectified. 

Getting accredited did not mean that the concerned athlete would be selected for the Asian Games but under normal procedure, accreditations are done for all the athletes included in a provisional list sent by the national sports federations.

Later, whoever gets selected will leave for the Games.

Officials of Athletics Federation of India said that strict guidelines are in place regarding the photos and passport of athletes to be uploaded for accreditation of Asian Games.

“The IOA had sent us the strict guidelines about the accreditation process. It may seem funny, but the organisers, in fact, gave guidelines that you cannot smile on your photo and you cannot show your teeth and the background has to be white," an AFI official said.

There is no big name among the 19 athletes, except for reigning women’s 400m Asian champion and Rio Olympian Nirmala Sheoran. Her photo was rejected as the background was not white. 

“We have told the athletes well in advance about the do’s and don’ts of the photos to be sent for accreditation. Now they are facing the problems because they have not adhered to these guidelines,” the official added on condition of anonymity.

“It happened in the run-up to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games too. We had to resend photos of some athletes again to the organisers after their accreditation were rejected initially. Of course, they were accepted and given accreditation later,” he added.

Kerala quarter-miler Sachin Roby has been told to resend his photo as the earlier one was rejected because his teeth were visible. 

Bengal athlete Himashree Roy’s accreditation has been rejected for a smiling passport size photo.       



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