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!
The role of politicians in the controversy surrounding the selection of tennis players for London Olympics has not been debated much. The debate has been mostly about players and AITA.
AITA selectors picked Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupati for menâ€™s doubles. Mahesh refused. He should have been banned for life for refusing to play for Indian and asked to refund the amount spent on him. That would have sent a message to all players that AITA will not tolerate players dictating terms to AITA. AITA did not do that. They selected Rohan Bopanna. Rohan also refused. Mahesh and Rohan wanted to play as a pair and said two teams could be sent.
The decision of the government to change the rule for eligibility to get Bharata Ratna has stirred a debate and opened the floodgates with demands for Bharata Ratna for various persons. Formerly it was for art, literature, public service and science. Now it is for any field in human endeavour. The change came about because sport was not a category for which Bharata Ratna was given and many people wanted Sachin Tendulkar should get Bharata Ratna.
There are people who feel all national awards should be abolished because they are political. They are few. There are those who say giving Bharata Ratna for sport will devalue Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna which was equivalent to Bharata Ratna and if someone is given Bharata Ratna for sport all sportspersons who got Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna will feel humiliated. Sachin Tendulkar has got Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna. Since sport is included for Bharata Ratna, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna should be abolished.
Sania Mirza’s decision to skip Bangalore Open in March and not to play in India has evoked different reactions. It is her choice not to play in India and it has to be respected. Her decision was on the basis of advice of Globosport which is her managing agent. The advice was given as whenever…