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Play for India to avail grants: Sports Ministry issues diktat

It was noticed, while finalising the contingent for the Incheon Asiad, that senior sportspersons of some sports decided to pull out, preferring to play in prize money events.

Press Trust Of India

Updated:October 30, 2014, 11:37 AM IST
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Play for India to avail grants: Sports Ministry issues diktat
It was noticed, while finalising the contingent for the Incheon Asiad, that senior sportspersons of some sports decided to pull out, preferring to play in prize money events.

New Delhi: Taking exception to top Indian tennis players, who were reluctant to compete in the recent Asian Games, the Sports Ministry on Wednesday said individual players will be able to avail grants from it only if they are available for India when needed.

The ministry's diktat comes after players like Somdev Devvarman, veteran Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna refused to participate in the Incheon Asiad, citing loss of rankings points on the ATP tour. India were forced to send a second-string team to the event due to this.

The ministry had earlier issued similar instructions on July 18, 2013, to all recognised National Sports Federations.

A Sports Ministry release stated: "It is again made clear to all NSFs that individual players can avail grants by the ministry only if they play in the Indian team when called upon without reservations.

"It was noticed, while finalising the Indian contingent for the Incheon Asiad, that senior sportspersons of some sports decided to pull out, preferring to play in prize money events instead giving the impression that they don't take these sports competitions seriously."

All India Tennis Federation reacted to the Sports Ministry's statement later, throwing its weight behind the players. "The three players represented India in the Davis Cup a week before the Asiad and India lost a very close tie to world champions Serbia. This shows their commitment to the nation."

However, the ministry didn't bring up the name of BCCI, who decided not to send the men's and women's team for the Asian Games, which could have made a difference of two medals, if not gold, to India's final tally.

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