Indian riders suspended for 2 years; EFI asked to apologise by international body | More sports News

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NEW DELHI: Four Indian riders have ended up paying the price for the Equestrian Federation of India‘s (EFI) misdeeds. And the price is huge – probably an end to their professional career.
Cracking the whip, the Oman-based International Tent Pegging Federation (ITPF) has suspended four Indian horsemen for two years each for impersonating as Nepalese citizens and participating in the Tent Pegging World Cup Qualifiers in Greater Noida from March 16 to 18, 2021. The tournament was organised by the EFI, along with Delhi-headquartered Equiwings Sports, under the aegis of the ITPF.
As per the documents in possession with TOI, ITPF’s secretary general Haitham MJ Al-Lawati has written to his counterpart in the WFI, Col Jaiveer Singh, stating: “…Suspension of the competitors who represented the Nepal Team (Indian passport holders) from participating in local and international competitions for a period of 24 months starting from June 29 2021, and the Indian Federation shall follow up on this.”
He added: “The Indian equestrian federation should write a letter of apology to the ITPF, which stated that it has not abided by the legal procedures followed internationally before the start of the competition and to verify the passports of the participants. In the event of no response from the EFI within 21 days, the WC Qualifier in India will be cancelled, and the Qualifiers will be repeated with the participation of all countries according to the previously approved schedule.”
Indian horsemen who represented Nepal at the Tent Pegging WC were Yogender, Gulam Mohamed, Kapil and Vinay Kumar. However, while representing the Nepalese team, the result sheet mentioned their names as Yogandar, Golam, Kepil and Vinay.
Interestingly, the letter by Al-Lawati to Col Singh dates back to August 18, 2021 and the EFI had its Executive Committee (EC) meeting on August 20 at Lodhi Road here, which was attended by the Delhi High Court-appointed observer, Dr S Y Quraishi. However, the EC minutes of the meeting were uploaded on the EFI website only on Thursday on November 18, which had the mention of the letter. The EFI has been holding its own internal inquiry into the matter under the chairmanship of Col Rakesh Nair (retd), who had, in the EC meeting, sought one month’s extension through mail written on August 16 to complete his investigation.
There were five teams that took part in the event: India, Pakistan, Belarus, USA and Nepal. Out of the seven competitions held at the qualifiers, India claimed six gold and one bronze to finish first with a total of 515 points and qualified for the World Cup, which is scheduled to be organised in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2023. Pakistan came second and were followed by Nepal in third place.

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