Blame game starts after China Masters fiasco


The Indian contingent, including last year's semifinalist Saina Nehwal, was left to cool their heel after the Badminton Association of India (BAI) sent their entry on August 12, a day after the August 11 deadline, and the organisers refused to oblige them.

While the BAI insists the fault is on the shuttlers' part since they forgot to remind the federation, players like V Diju laid the blame squarely on the administrators.

"We had informed the BAI around 3-4 months back that we want to participate in all the Super Series this year but the Association forgot to sent the entries for the China Masters on time. It is clearly a mistake on their part," Diju said.

"I am really disappointed because our ranking will go down after missing this event. Now it becomes difficult for us to qualify for the World Super Series Masters, for which we would have to do really well in the next two competitions," Diju said.

BAI president VK Verma, however, maintained that the onus was on the players to inform the association.

"The players competing in any tournament are supposed to send us their entries by email to Girish Natu, who is responsible for sending the entries to the BWF. In this case, Girish and coach Pullela Gopichand confirmed to me that the players themselves sent the entries one day late, that is on August 12," Verma said.

"BAI sent the entries immediately but the BWF (Badminton World Federation) rejected that. The BAI cannot send the entries on its own because if a player fails to turn up, then there will be a fine of USD 250.
"I don't want to go into why the players were late in informing us. If they forgot or they were preoccupied with the world championship, I don't know," he added.

Diju, however, insisted that the players were not supposed to inform the BAI before every tournament.
"We are not supposed to inform them before each and every tournament that we want to participate. It's only if a player cannot participate that he or she should should inform the BAI.
"China Masters and Japan Masters are back-to-back. They forgot to sent the entries for the former but they sent for the latter," Diju added.
Interestingly, top shuttler Saina Nehwal felt it was a collective fault which resulted in the goof-up.
"It is everyone's fault actually. Everyone was busy with the World Championship and forgot about the deadline. The players also didn't sent it on time and even the BAI didn't inform us," she said.

"I'm really sad because I had reached the semifinals of the tournament last year. I will lose out of precious ranking points as participation in the World Super Series Masters will depend on the ranking. But let's see.
"I will try to play well and come within the top eight to qualify for the tournament. I am playing next in the Japan Open," said the Indian who has dropped to world number seven.
Gopichand said the whole episode was 'unfortunate'.
"It is unfortunate but with the World Championship in full swing, the whole process of sending entry got delayed by a day," he said.

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