As an avid and keen follower of Indian tennis, it was music to my ears that eventually Leander Paes got the opportunity of making a record seventh appearance in the Rio Olympics 2016. Until few days back, his chances were very bleak; but at last Leander has been rewarded for completing a mixed doubles career slam by winning French Open mixed doubles title, partnering Martina Hingis last week.
Even though He won the title, it was not clear whether He would make it for Rio Olympics or not because He was way behind in rankings from his erstwhile Partner Bopanna.
As per the reports, this matter was diligently taken up by All India Tennis Association (AITA). They ensured that situation wouldn’t get out of hand, like it did in London Olympics when Mahesh Bhupathi partnered Rohan and Leander had to partner Vishnu Vardhan; and both these teams got empty-handed due to their defeats in earlier rounds of London Olympics.
This time All India Tennis Association was quite confident and clear in their approach for selection of teams for the Olympics 2016. Their only criteria of choosing the teams was their chances of winning the medal at the premiere sporting extravaganza. They have pursued the policy of Country First and Individuals afterwards.
Being in top 10 of men’s doubles rankings Bopanna qualified straight away for main draw at Olympics and earned the right of choosing his partner for this competition. He has shown his preference for Saketh Myneni as his partner for Rio Olympics 2016. But in due course of the discussion selection committee of All India Tennis Association was fully convinced that combination of Leander and Rohan would be the best bet in the Rio Olympics 2016.
Few of the excerpts from the discussion are given underneath to give the glimpse of discussion between the selection committee and Bopanna.
“He(Bopanna) gave reasons to the selection committee why he felt Saketh could be a better doubles partner. But the committee decided that best bet for Indian tennis to win a medal would be having Leander and Bopanna together,” AITA President Anil Khanna said, declining to elaborate further.
But Mr. Bal member of the selection committee convinced Bopanna by citing the worth of experience an eighteen times Grand Slam winner Leander would bring to this team as his partner. It will also increase the chances as far as winning the medal is concerned.
“It is the Nation who puts forth it’s best players at such events,” Oza (member of the selection committee) added with winning medals as the prime objective. This is the best team we could select.”
“ Rohan eventually understood our point of view.”
At last better sense prevailed ahead of personal differences and opinions, when it’s comes to the interest of the Nation all the differences have to be kept aside and joint team efforts are the need of the hour for achieving higher goals. We must congratulate All India Tennis Association and Rohan Bopanna for taking this commendable decision by putting the Nation First.