New Delhi, Jul 19 (PTI) Doubles player Rohan Bopanna, who failed to make the cut for the Tokyo Olympics along with Divij Sharan because of their low combined rank, on Monday accused AITA of misleading everyone by claiming it had changed the combination by pairing him with Sumit Nagal for a shot at qualification.
The All India Tennis Association (AITA) hit back at Bopanna by saying that it only tried to help him since he could not qualify on his own.
The AITA had announced the nomination of Bopanna and Sharan for the men's doubles event of the Tokyo Games.
However, Bopanna (38) and Sharan (75), with a low combined rank of 113 missed out on qualification. According to the International Tennis Federation (ITF), a few days before the July 16 deadline, they were the fifth alternate.
But, after Nagal made the cut for the men's singles on July 16 following large-scale withdrawals, AITA saw hope in getting a men's doubles team's entry since singles players were being given the priority to fill the doubles draws.
The AITA announced that it had changed the combination by pairing Bopanna with Nagal.
'ITF has never accepted an entry for Sumit Nagal & myself. ITF was clear that no changes were allowed after the nomination deadline (22nd June) unless Injury/Illness. AITA has mislead the players, government, media and everyone else by stating we still have a chance,' Bopanna tweeted.
AITA secretary general Anil Dhupar said they reached out to the ITF for changing the nomination.
'We wrote to the ITF that we want to change the nomination and now want to pair Bopanna with Nagal, so please advise us how to go forward. While they said changing the nomination was possible only in case of injury and illness and also under special circumstances, they said they would keep us posted even as only seven hours are left for deadline to expire,' Dhupar told PTI.
'So, where is the question of misleading anyone. How are we supposed to gain by it? The fact is that Bopanna's ranking was not good enough for qualification. We only tried to help him so that he could compete in the Games. Why he did not qualify on his own?' Reacting to Bopanna's tweet, Sania Mirza wrote, 'Whaaattt??? If this is true then it's absolutely ridiculous and shameful..by this it also means that we have sacrificed a very good shot at a medal in the mixed doubles if you and I would have played as planned. We were both told that you and Sumit's names have been given.' However, the question of missing out on a shot at medal in the mixed doubles does not arise since Bopanna could not qualify for the men's doubles.
Only those players can play the mixed event who are are already part of the singles or doubles draw.
The tennis competition opens on July 24. PTI AT AT AH AH AH