New Delhi: At a stage where we continue to yearn for medals, pruning down India's contingent from 944 to 679 for the Incheon Asian Games by the sports ministry, will only dent India's chances of shining at the Asia's biggest sporting spectacle.
The decision was taken following guidelines issued by the prime minister's office (PMO).
The Indian Olympic Association had initially proposed a 944-member contingent, comprising of 662 athletes and 282 coaches and officials.
As a result of the PMO guidelines, India won't be able to participate in disciplines like beach volleyball, rugby 7s, fencing, 10-pin bowling, triathlon, soft tennis and modern pentathlon.
Reducing down the number of officials is justified to an extent, but the logic behind depriving athletes of international exposure by cutting down events is something which only the government can explain.
The decision is also a major blow for athletes who were anticipating of representing their country while competing with world class athletes.
The sports ministry had also barred the IOA from sending managers at their own cost as it said that the principle of "no cost to government" will not apply for adding any other name to the contingent.
While the IOA officials are miffed with the whittling down of the proposed contingent list, one might wonder what impact would it make on the athletes, who are sweating day in and out, hoping of winning medals for their country at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
India participated in the 2010 Guangzhou Asiad, which were hosted by China, with a 933-member contingent, which had 609 athletes and 324 officials and had competed in 35 disciplines. The Indian athletes did well as they won 65 medals, including 14 gold and ended up being sixth in the medals tally.