The capital city of India hosted national level under 17 Taekwondo championship at Chattrapati Shivaji Stadium from 3rd to 7th December. It seems that the selection of the players for the tournament was not fair and marred with corruption. Anjali Kumari, four time state level gold medalist from Bihar and her father allege that the state selection committee asked Anjali to give Rs. 50,000 if she wants to get selected and play at the national level tournament.
Anjali is being coached by her father, Rajesh Kumar (zilla secretary, taekwondo) since the age of six at their village, Motihari. She started participating in Taekwondo competitions sfrom the age of seven and now she is 15. In her career, she has won 10 gold medals at the district level, four at state level and a bronze at an international championship in Thailand.
This year, Anjali Kumari participated in the taekwondo competition (under 42 kg category) at the district level, won gold and then secured a gold medal at state level as well. She went to a 10 day training camp at Patliputra Sports Complex in Kankanbagh, Patna and for the selections of the national level tournament. She alleges that the head of the selection committee Mr. Anandi Kumar and his nephew Rakesh called her in a room alone and asked her to pay Rs. 50,000 if she wants to get selected for the national tournament.
Similarly, two other players from the Motihari village, Kajal Kumari (under 35 kg category) and Sudhir Kumar (under 55 kg category) were asked to pay money to get selected for the national tournament. All the three players refused to pay. All three players were not selected for the national level tournament.
Rajesh Kumar told Democracy News Live that a group of 10 girls and 10 boys went for the nationals from Bihar. There were mostly silver and bronze medal players while gold medal players were not selected. He said that in Anjali's category the silver medalist went for the tournament when Anjali defeated her in the last state level tournament.
He further added that within a group of 20, the state was able to win only one bronze medal. They could have won at least 10 medals if right team was selected. He expressed his disappointment that despite the government spending in training camps and other amenities, it gets wasted when deserving players are not selected due to high level of corruption in the selection process.
Anjali Kumari, Kajal Kumari and Sudhir Kumar have written letters to the Chief minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, the state art and culture minister Krishan Kumar Rishi, Sports Minister of India Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. The players are awaiting reply.