Temporary reprieve for tennis players

December 26th, 2008 - 9:59 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 26 (IANS) In a temporary reprieve to tennis players, the sports ministry has now decided to have a ‘look-in’ to their policy of allowing only Indian citizens to represent the country.In a press release All India Tennis Association (AITA) secretary-general Anil Khanna said the new policy was discussed after they informed the government that such an order will impact three players — Davis Cupper Prakash Amritraj, Fed Cup player Sunitha Rao and Shikha Uberoi — who are American citizens but represent India.

“AITA had replied to the government that we have three players who will be affected by such an order and at the same time AITA will abide by the policy of the Government in the larger interest of Indian Sport,” Khanna said.

“The new policy has been discussed and the Minister of Sports has agreed to have a re-look at the participation rights, if a possibility exists for dual citizenships for players. In case a player is willing to change his passport he/she will obviously not be in any difficulty in representing India in Fed Cup and Davis Cup and the government would welcome the same,” he said.

Earlier Friday, the ministry formally announced its decision on the issue after it was directed by the Delhi High Court to formulate a uniform policy whether Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) are eligible to represent the country.

The news understandably didn’t go well with the players who feel the whole thing has been unnecessarily conjured up. Says Shikha Uberoi: “You look at Russian players who are playing for Kazakhstan, which is an Asian country. So when you meet these tall, strong built females in any Asian tournament, it is not easy for us. So why such an unnecessary hassle.”

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