Gymnast Ashish Kumar calls out ‘unfairness’ at CWG tryouts, claims he was driven to depression


India’s most decorated male gymnast, Ashish Kumar, is sinking into depression as his hopes of making the Commonwealth Games squad continue to dim a month after he alleged his bias during trials.

Kumar, who won medals at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games in 2010, wrote to the Indian Gymnastics Federation and the Sports Authority of India, alleging he had ‘faced an injustice’ during the selections for the next Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

The trials took place on May 11 and 12.

He also asked to review video footage of the performance of the top eight gymnasts in trials by international judges.

The SAI, accordingly, had asked the IFM to submit a report on this and said it could set up a committee, if necessary, to investigate the matter.

However, Kumar, 32, said he hadn’t heard anything from the GFI or SAI yet, and that his “hopes are dying with every passing day”.

“I feel depressed about this whole episode. I don’t know why I am training. When you don’t even know if you will be able to participate in the Commonwealth Games, it is difficult to continue in such uncertainty.

“There has been no response from SAI or GFI despite my repeated emails. We play a tough sport that requires a lot of mental toughness. If you are not mentally well you could get injured,” Kumar told PTI.

GFI Chairman Suddir Mittal said he had already submitted the report and the ball was in SAI’s court.

“We submitted the report immediately after SAI asked us to. It’s up to them to make a decision on that,” Mittal said.

On June 2, Kumar wrote another letter to SAI and GFI, asking for clarification.

“I am rewriting this letter to request that you please consider the complaint I have raised regarding the unfair selection and judging for the World Challenge Cup Probable Majors and Selection Trials dated 11-05-2022”, he wrote.

Kumar had the 5th highest score in the all-around, but he said he was still “nowhere in the World Challenge Cup squads or overseas camp list” while “other gymnasts who are in 7th and 8th are selected for World Challenge Cups and overseas exhibition.”.

An eight-member Indian team, including four men and four women, departed on Wednesday for the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Cup, which kicked off in Croatia on Thursday.

The same team will also participate in the Asian Championship.

“If the teams leave for the World Challenge Cup on June 8, followed by an Asian championship and a foreign exhibition camp in France, then it is very clear that there is no possibility of CWG trials,” Kumar lamented.

Kumar also said the scores of a few Indian gymnasts participating in the ongoing World Challenge Cup prove his allegation of bias.

“If you look at the qualifying scores in Croatia, you will clearly understand the difference in the judgments made during the trials and by the international officials.

“In gymnastics, a difference of 0.1 to 0.5 points is acceptable, but anything above that is a huge difference. Just look at the scores of Yogeshwar who was 7th at the trial but was sent off anyway. in Croatia. The other person is Abhijeet (2nd in the trial), who is from the navy.”

Yogeshwar Singh scored 12.60 on the floor at trials, but he produced 12,000 on Friday at the World Challenge. On horizontal bar and vault, Yogeshwar scored 12.90 and 14.35 at trials compared to 10.800 and 13.375 in Croatia.

Abhijeet Kumar, meanwhile, scored exactly the same at the trials and the global challenge, scoring 11.65 on pommel horse.

However, his performance slipped in the horizontal bar as he scored 11.250 in Croatia against 12.85 in the selection trials.

“Their scores are so different in the global challenge than in the trials, which clearly shows the bias.

“But I still train with this slim hope of going to open trials because I know I can win a CWG medal,” Kumar concluded.

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