New Delhi: Cracking the whip on the three archers who missed the bronze medal play-off during the recently-concluded World University Games, the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) has banned them and their coach for three years, besides asking them to return the money spent on them.
The AIU handed the suspension to archers Gurwinder Singh, Kanwalpreet Singh and Aman and official Jiwanjot Singh for "utter negligence" and "gross violation of rules", leading to "disrepute, embarrassment and tarnishing the image of India at the international platform".
The compound team trio did not turn up at the bronze medal play-off against Italy in the July 3-14 World University Games at Gwangju in South Korea, thereby forfeiting the match.
"The inquiry report was examined. It was found/observed that athletes and official of the Indian contingent failed to turn up for participation in the prestigious event. This showed utter negligence of official duty and gross violation of 'Code of Conduct' of FISU rules by the athletes and official, leading to disrepute, embarrassment and tarnishing the image of India at the international platform," the AUI said in a letter addressed to secretaries of sports committees of the member universities.
"Taking a serious view of the incident, it was decided to suspend athletes (Gurwinder Singh-GNDU Amritsar, Kanwalpreet Singh-Punjabi University and Aman-University of Rajasthan, Jaipur) and official Jiwanjot Singh (Punjabi University) for a period of three years w.e.f current year 2015-16 to 2017-18, barring them from association/participation both in inter University tournaments and international University Games," the letter said.
The archers have also been asked to return the money spent on each of them on their selection, training and participation, including for booking flight tickets, which is expected to be to the tune of Rs 5 lakh per athlete.
"Further, expenditure incurred on their selection, training and participation including TA/DA, playing kids, valid visa, travel tickets (both ways) need to be recovered from erring athletes and official immediately as Indian delegation was cleared and sponsored with a specific purpose of winning medal(s) and pursuing excellence at international sporting event, not for luxury excursion at the cost of public funding," AIU joint secretary sports Gurdeep Singh said in the letter.
The Punjabi University at Patiala had born the expenditure to send the archery team to Gwangju. Normally, a particular university first bears the expenses for the athletes, to be reimbursed by the Sports Ministry later on.
Surprisingly, however, the AIU did not furnish the reason why the athletes could not reach the archery competition venue on time. The AIU had also asked for a report from RK Sharma, who had accompanied the Indian contingent to Korea.
One official said that the archers started late from the Games Village and they could not reach the competition venue, which was located at a far-off place, on time.
Archery Association of India had also set up a three-member committee to probe into the matter but it is likely to take some time for the panel to submit a report, if an official of the AAI is to be believed.
Shooter Apurvi Chandela had also reportedly failed to turn up in the 50m three-position event at the University Games though she later said that the officials asked her to compete in an event for which she did not even have the equipment.
An official of the AIU told PTI that a report has also been sought from the head of the Indian contingent in Gwangju on Chandela's issue. "We have sought a report on the Chandela matter also. I will not be able to say anything on that matter now. Let the report come and we will take a decision," the official said.