Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur on Wednesday announced that the Indian men’s and women’s football teams will participate in the upcoming Asian Games 2023, in Hangzhou. The Asian Games will be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 23 to October 8 but the football competition will begin on September 19. Both men’s and women’s team were set to miss the tournament after failing to meet the qualification criteria.
According to the sports ministry’s guidelines, only those sports which have achieved a ranking up to 8th among participating Asian countries in the last year should be considered for participation in the Asian Games.
But the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and the Government of India decided to ease the rules so that both teams can participate in the Asian Games even after failing to meet the existing criteria.
Sports Ministry endorses Indian Football Teams’ participation in Asian Games _
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) July 26, 2023
Anurag Thakur, who is also the Information and Broadcasting Minister, took to X, formerly known as Twitter wrote, “Good news for Indian football lovers! Our national football teams, both Men’s and Women’s, are set to participate in the upcoming Asian Games. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, has decided to relax the rules to facilitate participation of both the teams, which were not qualifying as per the existing criterion. Keeping in mind their latest performances in the recent times, the Ministry decided to grant the relaxation. I am sure they will put their best foot forward in the Asian Games and make our country proud.”
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The Indian men’s football team has enjoyed success since the beginning of this year. Recently the Blue Tigers were crowned winners of the SAFF Championship 2023, ninth in their history, after Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made a game-changing save in the penalty shootout, to register a 5-4 victory. Throughout their campaign, they didn’t lose a single game. Earlier this year they also won the Hero Tri-Nation Cup and the Hero Intercontinental Cup against Kyrgyzstan and Lebanon respectively. Following their success, they also moved to the 99th position in the latest FIFA rankings. Under the management of Igor Stimac and the leadership of Sunil Chhetri India will be keen to achieve success in the Asian Games
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