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Rathore to skip Asian Games torch relay, IOA invites Goel

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Minister has expressed his inability to attend the here on Sunday, prompting the to extend an invitation to his predecessor Vijay Goel, who has accepted it.

An of the Ministry today informed the IOA that was "very keen to join but will not be able to attend the function this weekend as he will be required to visit in connection with some urgent work".

IOA Narinder Batra, with whose body the ministry has been at loggerheads in recent times on various issues, replied: "This event happens once only in four years and is very important part of our Indian history. It is unfortunate the cannot come. We understand he must have got more important work to attend."

Batra informed that Goel, who served as just before Rathore, has consented to grace the event.

"Mr. Vijay Goel, former sports minister and present union minister, has very kindly agreed to be our chief guest at the function and dinner."

The flame of the 18th in will be lit at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium in -- the birthplace of the Olympic Council of Asia's premier sports event in 1951.

The ceremonial lighting of the Torch will be followed by the start of the Torch Relay. The torch handover process will also involve the OCA Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, Olympic Committee and Indonesia's sports minister Imam Nahrawi, besides Batra and Goel.

The flame will later travel back to for the start of the 18,000km domestic torch relay through 50 cities in 18 provinces before arriving at the in for the opening ceremony on August 18.

The IOA and the have been at loggerheads for some time on various issues, including selection of youngsters in various sports for training at the facilities of of after School Games.

The IOA feels that it was an infringement on the autonomy of the National Sports Federations (NSFs).

Batra had earlier asked the officials of the NSFs not to be associated with the Khelo initiative.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, July 13 2018. 20:25 IST