Rigging allegations take sheen out of bronze

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{image-bronze medal_15022008.jpg www.oneindia.com}New Delhi, Feb 15: India's historic bronze medal in squash at the Doha Asian Games in December 2006 has come under the scanner. The achievement may have been pre-ordained or pre-planned. In other words, chances are that the match was fixed

According to a media report, India knew they were assured of a bronze even before the quarter-finals began. The quarter-final draw saw two Indians - Ritwick Bhattacharya and Saurav Ghosal pitted against each other in the lower half. Ghoshal won the match and went through to the semi-final and that meant India was virtually assured of at least a bronze.

According to the Asian Squash Federation rulebook for events like the Asian Games, it is customary to ensure that wherever possible players of the same nationality do not meet each other in the first round and are preferably separated into the top and bottom halves of the draw.

Brigadier Raj Manchanda, the government appointed observer for squash, spoke to an English channel from Mumbai.

"I can't say whether it was fixed or not because I was not at the draw when they were made. I was not there. But what is surprising is that this thing took place. The rule and guidelines of the Asian Squash Federation say and it is for all games that if there are two persons taking part in the same event of multi-disciplinary games then they must be put in separate half of the draw. This did not take place. That assured us of a bronze," Brigadier Raj Manchanda replied when asked if the bronze medal was fixed.

Brigadier Manchanda also said the responsibility for the draw lies with the Asian Squash Federation.


"Blame or not I don't know. But for better or worse we got a bronze. The responsibility is with the head of Asian Squash Federation who is Ramchandran. He is responsible for the draw," he said.


He also said that the medal pushed squash higher up the priority list.

"We are a medal starved country. The government has got a priority scheme where those who get medals get higher priority. They get more support in terms of funding. The bronze medal has put squash into higher priority," he added.

OneIndia News

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