STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Leander Paes returns, Yuki Bhambri gets exemption from Asian Games 

Paes has not competed in the prestigious quadrennial event since winning the men's doubles gold with Mahesh Bhupathi and mixed doubles gold with Sania Mirza at the 2006 Doha Games.

Published: 04th June 2018 11:20 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th June 2018 11:20 PM   |  A+A-

Paes has won eight medals at the previous editions of Asian Games. (File | AP)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The iconic Leander Paes today made a comeback to the Asian Games bound Indian squad while Yuki Bhambri was "exempted" as AITA threw its weight behind country's top singles player in his quest for Grand Slam glory.

Paes, who has won eight medals at the previous editions of Asian Games, has not competed in the prestigious quadrennial event since winning the men's doubles gold with Mahesh Bhupathi and mixed doubles gold with Sania Mirza at the 2006 Doha Games.

The AITA backed Yuki in skipping the Games in Indonesia, where tennis events will begin on August 19, saying there are not many Indians competing in the singles at Grand Slams, thus, "the boy must be supported." Yuki, ranked 94, is expected to make the cut for the US Open and since the tennis events in Indonesia will conclude only two days before the New York Grand Slam begins on August 27, he could not have possibly recovered for the marquee event.

The selection committee chose to pick three singles specialists -- Ramkumar Ramanathan, Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Sumit Nagal -- and three doubles specialists - Paes, Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan in the men's squad.

The women's squad will be led by leading singles player Ankita Raina.

Karman Kaur Thandi, Rutuja Bhosale, Pranjala Yadlapalli, Riya Bhatia and Prarthana Thombare are the other players.

All of them were chosen based on their rankings.

The winners of the men's and women's singles will earn direct entry into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The ITF announced the introduction of six continental qualification places, approved by the IOC Executive Board, as part of the Tokyo 2020 Qualification System for tennis.

Meanwhile, India's Davis Cup captain Mahesh Bhupathi had requested to be excused from the job and the AITA obliged.

Zeeshan Ali was named the coach-cum-captain of the men's squad while the women's team will be guided by Fed Cup captain Ankita Bhambri.

Zeeshan told PTI that he will take a call on various combinations, only close to the Games after assessing players' form and fitness.

Giving the reasoning behind three singles players and not just two since India can send only two entries, Zeeshan explained:"God forbid, if some injury happens to Ramkumar or Prajnesh, Sumit can chip in and play the singles.He can also play doubles."

"We did discuss the option of picking four doubles players to field two specialist pairs but these doubles players can't play singles, if needed.That's why we chose three singles players, who can also play doubles if required." Talking about Yuki's exemption, AITA secretary Hironmoy Chatterjee said,"The last Indian player who played Grand Slam singles was Somdev Devvarman.Now that this boy (Yuki) has got an opportunity to compete at the highest level, he needs to be supported." In the last edition, both Anand Amritraj and Zeeshan had gone as support staff members but this time the latter has been entrusted with both the jobs.

Asked for the reason, Chatterjee said they are only following guidelines.

"Only 20 per cent of the total size of a team can travel with the team as others (support staff). In our case we have 12 players, so 20 percent is three. But we requested them to accommodate at least two captains and two physios for our two teams." When asked if young players such as Vishnu Vardhan, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan or N Sriram Balaji were discussed as possible inclusion for doubles, selection committee member Rohit Rajpal said,"ranking was the main criteria." "These players are doing a good job but Leander is still ranked higher than them.

His records speak for him.

With his experience, he still is a very strong contender for a medal," Rajpal said.

Paes has won a singles bronze and men's team gold (at Hiroshima 1994), three gold medals in men's doubles (1994 with Gaurav Natekar) and with Mahesh Bhupathi in Busan (2002) and Doha (2006) respectively.

India's most celebrated doubles player also won a mixed doubles bronze (2002) and gold (2006) with Sania Mirza along with a team bronze at the Beijing edition in 1990.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

IPL_2020
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp