WGAI, IGU squabble over Aditi's miss

WGAI, IGU squabble over Aditi's miss

Aditi Ashok

On the day of awards function, the Women's Golf Association of India (WGAI) and Indian Golf Union (IGU) were squabbling over why Aditi Ashok's name was not recommended for the Arjuna Award this year.

WGAI said they were left "shocked" when they found Aditi's name was not in the list of Arjuna awardees and got to know later that she was not even nominated this year. Aditi represented India at the Rio Olympics as an 18-year-old before going on to become the youngest golfer to win the Ladies European Tour’s (LET) qualifying school. She subsequently won two LET tournaments and became the first Indian woman to win on the tour. She also became the second Indian-born golfer to earn her LPGA tour card.

The WGAI secretary-general Champika Sayal said Aditi's name was recommended for the award last year along with seasoned SSP Chawrasia. While Aditi was ignored, Chawrasia received the award. “But we were told her name will be in the pipeline for next year,” Sayal said.

Sayal blamed the IGU, the governing body, for keeping them in dark over Aditi's nomination this year. "They don't do anything and at the same time, they are not willing to give us the mandate. A deserving player today could not win the Arjuna award and that's a massive loss,” Sayal claimed. "We don't get access to what is happening in IGU.”

In its defence, IGU director-general Major General (Retd) Bibhuti Bhushan said the reason they couldn't nominate the 20-year-old golfer was because she never signed the form for the award. "We recommended two names this year -- Shubhankar Sharma and Aditi Ashok. To complete the process you are supposed to send the forms to the player, so they can sign it. We waited till the last day, Shubhankar signed the form but Aditi did not. The mail was delivered to her and we can show the proof," claimed Bhushan.

Sayal, however, questioned: “If they weren't able to catch hold of her, they should have come to us.”

She also explained why WGAI did not intervene into the matter before. "We (WGAI) couldn't give her membership till she was 18. She only turned 18 on 29th March 2016 and went straight out to LET and then LPGA from being an amateur. So it was IGU which was responsible for her,” she said.

“However, we feel very strongly about Aditi missing out. We are going to speak to the minister regarding this.”

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