Restore professionalism and discipline in sports
By The New Indian Express
28th June 2012 01:03 AM
Tennis player Sania Mirza has taken the All India Tennis Association (AITA) to task for the manner in which it has been handling the issue of selection for the London Olympics. There is little doubt that players like Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi have not crowned themselves with glory by giving more importance to their ego than the sporting interest of the nation. The teaming up of some players against Paes — whatever be the provocation — did not also show Indian tennis in a good light. What is worse, the AITA has miserably failed to rise to the occasion and has ended up as a toothless body, more adept at scheming than planning.
Rather than enforcing a sense of discipline among the cantankerous players, the AITA preferred to pit one player against another in its bid to complete the task of finalising India’s tennis contingent for the London Games. Sania Mirza has a point that the AITA used her as a bait to mollycoddle Paes who, in turn, did not show sportsmanship when he insisted on a written undertaking that she would pair only with him in mixed doubles. The needless controversy could have been averted if the AITA had been a little more considerate to the finer sensibilities of a player of the ranking of Paes who, at least in public perception, is more sinned against than sinning.
AITA has been exposed as a weak and unprofessional body. Most sports bodies make news not for the achievements they make but for being a handmaiden of politicians and vested interests. Some have even been using such organisations for their own power and pelf. They were able to frustrate Sports Minister Ajay Maken’s attempt to make them accountable through legislation. There could be differences of opinion on his draft Bill but the need to restore professionalism in sports cannot be overemphasised.
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