Indian Olympic Association (IOA) today slammed Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna for dictating terms to the AITA in team selection for London Olympics,saying no player should be allowed to have a “veto power”.
“I don’t want to name the players but no player should be allowed to have a sort of veto power in team selection,” V K Malhotra,IOA acting President,said in clear reference to Bhupathi and Bopanna.
Bhupathi and Bopanna had written to the AITA that they would not play in the Olympics if they were not paired together. The AITA,who had earlier picked Leander Paes and Bhupathi for the Olympics,had to reverse its decision and decide to send two teams with the former teaming up with lower-ranked Vishnu Vardhan.
Malhotra also criticised AITA for buckling under pressure from players,saying that today’s decision to send two men’s teams for the Olympics can set bad precedent for other federations.
“AITA should not have entertained their (Bhupathi and Bopanna’s) threats,” said Malhotra.
“Today’s decision has the potential to set precedents for other federations. It’s the function of federations to pick player. The IOA also does not interfere in this. And the players cannot dictate terms on the federations. I hope today’s decision does not set a precedent which if happens will be certainly bad for Indian sports,” he said.
He also felt that Leander pairing up with Vardhan and Bhupathi and Bopanna teaming up can cost India dear in medal prospect.
“Of course,it will have impact on India’s medal hopes,” he said.