TNI Bureau: Indian Tennis player Sania Mirza, who had been silent on the Leander Paes-Mahesh Bhupathi Olympic tennis row, hit out at All India Tennis Association (AITA) alleging Indian Tennis is hit by male chauvinism.
She broke her silence after she was given a wild card entry to play at the London Olympics 2012. Even though she made it clear that she has no problem in partnering Leander Paes in the mixed doubles event in London, her statement will disturb the Tennis aspirants.
In a press conference on Tuesday, she said that she was used as a bait to pacify an unhappy Leander Paes reeked of male chauvinism ahead of the 2012 London Olympics.
Even India’s ace badminton player Jwala Gutta also backed Sania Mirza’s claims that the manner in which AITA used her as bait to pacify one of the disgruntled stalwarts of Indian tennis, shows the male chauvinism. She said that it has been a long standing problem in Indian sports.
She opined that the tennis association AITA should have consulted Sania before taking the decision. She backed Sania saying the manner AITA dealt with the entire episode is shocking.
Speaking to NDTV on the issue, she said, “AITA should have done this in a civil manner. No excuse for such behaviour towards women athletes. The association should have called the players and everybody’s opinion would have mattered. It not only brings bad name for tennis, but bad name to the way the whole system works”.
She said that male chauvinism has always been there in Indian sports. It can discourage women from taking up sports as their career. She revealed that she has suffered a lot the same way. If such thing will continue in the sports, female athletes will be afraid to take up sports as career.
However, AITA has rejected Sania Mirza’s claim that she was used as ”bait” ahead of the 2012 London Olympics, saying the decision to pair Sania with Paes is based on merit.
AITA secretary general Bharat Oza said in a statement said that the selection for the Olympics is based on merit. The statement read by executive director Ranbir Chauhan at a press conference on Wednesday said that the players have been chosen by a professional selection committee.
The AITA believes that Sania and Leander can be a fantastic pair in the mixed doubles in the upcoming event. The statement said, “The committee selected world No. 7 and India No. 1 Leander Paes to partner world No. 12 and India No. 1 Sania Mirza in the mixed doubles Olympics event. With a combined ranking of 19, they were placed ninth in the top 12 teams to be eligible for mixed doubles. This selection is purely on merits as stated herein above”.