Mumbai: India's No 3 women's doubles player Prajakta Sawant has reasons to feel shattered after not being included in the ongoing Uber Cup in New Delhi.
“Everyone wants to make their country proud, so do I. But I am not getting any opportunities. I have won so many medals for India. I have always given my best for the nation, but now with this selection bias, I don't feel like playing for India anymore,” said Prajakta Sawant.
Prajakta, who was part of the 15 probables for the tournament, said she was advised to join the New Delhi camp on May 7, but claims that no one was present that morning.Then on May 8 she discovered she wasn't in the team.
“I got to know of my non selection on May 8 only after I read the newspaper. Even if you perform well, they ( selectors) don't pick you, so there's no point in playing for India. They'll say ‘ we want this or that sort of performance'. They always offer different reasons to keep me out. In spite of having a good national and international ranking, I'm not selected, which is very upsetting,” added Prajakta, India's No 3 in women's doubles.
Prajakta has been in engaged in a Mumbai High Court battle with the Badminton Association of India (BAI) since 2012 when she has alleged that national coach Pullela Gopichand ‘ mentally harassed' her. Gopichand has continuously refused to speak on the issue, claiming the matter is subjudice.
Prajakta, in her letter, alleges that the national selectors have picked players, who are ranked much lower than her. “ My international ranking is 78 and national ranking is 3 in doubles, but you have selected players like Pradnya Gadre, whose national ranking is 11 and international ranking is 87. Further, you have selected Aparna Balan — a mixed doubles player in the women's team — when there is no mixed doubles event in the tournament,” wrote Prajakta.
In their reply, BAI's legal counsel has said that the contents of Prajakta's email have been disputed by their client “ as they do not bring out the true and correct facts. The players selected for the tournament have performed better than you in the recent past and are better suited for the national team.” Prajakta believes that she has been overlooked because national coach Gopichand promotes players from his academy in Hyderabad.
Prajakta won the national women's doubles title in 2011 and 2012, and mixed doubles in 2012. She is also the first ever Indian female to win a medal at the Asian level — bronze in the U- 15 Asian mixed doubles in 2007. She stressed that her selection blues have driven her to feel unwanted and lose all her desire to represent India again.