VIJAYAWADA:With star players like World No. 3 Saina Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap and Ajay Jayaram, giving the 79th National Badminton Championship — being held in Vijayawada after 25 years — a miss, a disappointed Andhra Pradesh Badminton Association (APBA) on Sunday threatened to drag them all to court.
“These players should not be given any government assistance, awards or cash incentives. Their foreign tours should also be stopped. It’s time Badminton Association of India and the government took action against them,” demanded APBA secretary K Ch Punnaiah Choudhary who is also secretary (events) of BAI.
Stating that Saina and co are “setting a bad trend”, he wondered why couldn’t they play in the nationals when a Sachin or Sharath Kamal (table tennis) could. “Even the crowd is disappointed that top players are not turning up,” he said. Although it is mandatory to play in the nationals, some players participate in team events but skip open events. “We will be incurring a loss of `50 lakh as top players will not be taking part. We are answerable to our sponsors. I will take up this matter with BAI in the next general body meeting,” he said. He singled out Saina, accusing her of starting it all. “She has been skipping the nationals for the last six years. Other players cite some reason or the other, but Saina has not even bothered to respond to our mails,” he fumed. Chief national coach Pullela Gopichand also termed the issue a serious problem.
Saina has often cited international commitments to skip nationals and this time, she will be flying to Germany for a tournament this month-end.
Missing in Action
Saina Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap, RMV Gurusaidutt and Ajay Jayaram skipped all events in the national championship
Players who played in team events but skipped open events: PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth and doubles duo of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa.