On 26/6/2012 Sania Mirza and Rushmi Chakrabarty got wild card entry for womenâ€™s doubles in London Olympics and Somdev Devvarman in menâ€™s singles. Soon Sania issued a statement. Some excerpts:
â€œFor Leander to consider partnering with Vishnu only if he has a written assurance from me to play mixed is, I think, demeaning for me, Vishnu and Leander. What is even more shocking is the manner in which facts have been misrepresented to justify the breaking up of a team that won a second Grand Slam. Leander and I are not the only combination likely to get a direct entry in the mixed doubles.
As an Indian woman belonging to the 21st century, what I find disillusioning is the humiliating manner in which I was put up as a bait to try and pacify one of the disgruntled stalwarts of Indian tennisâ€¦ the manner and timing of the announcement reeks of male chauvinism where a two-time Grand Slam champion and No. 1 player in womenâ€™s singles and doubles is offered in compensation to partner one of the feuding champions purely in order to lure him into accepting to play with a menâ€™s player he does not wish to play with!
This kind of blatant humiliation of Indian womanhood needs to be condemned even if it comes from the highest controlling body of tennis in our country.â€
Anil Khanna, president of AITA, spoke of selection of players on 21/6/2012. Sania should have spoken soon after that. Waiting for wild card and speaking after that is opportunism. Sania has mentioned male chauvinism and blatant humiliation of Indian womanhood. One does not have to put up with humiliation. If Sania felt it was not just her humiliation but humiliation of Indian womanhood she should have refused to play. If she finds it demeaning to play with Leander she should refuse to play with him. She will do a great service to Indian womanhood.
Sania said Mahesh Bhupati had promised to be her partner in London Olympics and broke his promise to her. Krishna Bhupati had said Mahesh is a role model and had promised to partner Rohan Bopanna in Olympics and could not break his promise by agreeing to partner Leander. What about breaking promise to Sania? Is he not a role model then?
Sania mentioned she and Vishnu Vardhan had won silver medal in mixed doubles in Asian Games 2010 and the three stalwarts, Leander, Mahesh and Rohan, had refused to take part. She said she is ready to partner anyone in mixed doubles in Olympics. She has not received wild card for mixed doubles.
There was doubt about Somdevâ€™s fitness when doubles players were considered. Now that he has got wild card for singles he seems to be fit. If Somdev did not want to play doubles Anil Khanna should have said that.
Rohit Rajpal should not have been sent to London to talk to Leander. They could have talked on phone.
Self-respect is greater than playing for country in Olympics. Respect of Indian womanhood is important. Sania can avoid blatant humiliation of Indian womanhood by refusing to be a bait to pacify a male player. She can say she will not play mixed doubles to uphold the dignity of Indian womanhood.