Paes confirms participation at London Olympics

June 29th, 2012 - 3:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Rohan Bopanna London, June 29 (IANS) Leander Paes has confirmed he will compete in his sixth Olympics in London, saying his job was to play sports and not politics.

Paes had threatened to opt of out the London Games after the All Indian Tennis Association (AITA) decided to pair him with the young Vishnu Pardhan following Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna’s refusal to play alongside country’s highest ranked player.

Paes was biding his time to speak on the issue until Thursday when he said he was ready to ignore “petty politics” in the sport and represent India at July 27-August 12 event.

“I am here to play sport and not politics,” Paes said Thursday following his men’s doubles first round win at the Wimbledon with Czech partner Radek Stepanek.

“Unfortunately, I see the games being played within games. Though it is very disheartening, I am looking forward to my sixth Olympics as I have played for 22 years for the people and the flag.”

The Atlanta Games bronze medallist asserted he was ready to partner anyone AITA has selected.

Asked about 300th ranked singles player, Vardhan, Paes said: “I don’t even know if he has a grass-court shoe. So it is a bit of a tough one. But he is a really good kid.

“Whatever the obstacles are, which I see are going to be many — he has never been to Wimbledon before — whatever I can do as an experienced professional athlete to help my partners out, I would do,” he said.

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