New Delhi: The sports ministry has written to the All India Tennis Association (AITA) seeking an explanation by Tuesday on the controversy regarding Mahesh Bhupathi-Leander Paes parnership row for the Olympics.
This reaction comes after Bhupathi wrote to the sports minister, Ajay Maken claryfying his stand on not partnering Paes. Earlier on Monday Rohan Bopanna officially refused to play with Paes at the Olympics to further escalate the issue.
The letter has asked why AITA chose to select only one team when two teams can be sent to compete in next month's Olympics.
The sports ministry has written to the All India Tennis Association seeking an explanation by Tuesday.
"The government has been funding and supporting multi players to train and qualify for the Olympics. The justification of denying two players, who have qualified as a team on merit by sending just one Indian team, when India can send two teams?" the letter asked.
"With two days left for the deadline, would not AITA be sending Paes with a youngster to represent India, the aforesaid action of AITA is depriving India of sending another team to London Olympics, the reasons for this may be explained."
Maken has suggested that AITA should send two men's double teams. "If we are entitled to sending two teams why sending only one? If Sania Mirza gets a wild card (either singles or women's doubles) who will pair with her in the mixed doubles. We have to take into account that Bhupathi and Sania had recently won the French Open mixed doubles title," Maken said.
"We have to look into two things. One, as a layman I feel that if two players in a pair have developed a chemistry between them it would be advisable to have them in a team. Second, we have to see who Sania will pair up in the mixed doubles," he added.
Maken said his ministry as a matter of policy does not want to interfere in selection matters but he was forced to intervene as it involved national interest.
"As a minister, I don't want to interfere in selection matters of the federation. As a matter of policy, I am not in favour of politicians dictating terms on federations. But I am taking up the issue as a matter of national interest," said Maken.
The AITA had paired Bhupathi with Paes for the men's doubles event despite the former's categorical rejection of the combination.Bhupathi had insisted that he wanted to team up with Bopanna, but the AITA had warned that disciplinary action will be taken against him.