Lack of Communication cost Aditi Ashok the Arjuna award: WGAI

WGAI secretary genereal Champika Sayal put the onus for Aditi’s loss on the Indian Golf Union (IGU), the governing body of golf in the country.

Aditi Ashok won the 2016 Hero women’s Indian Open, becoming the first Indian to win a ladies European tour title.(File Photo)   -  AFP

Lack of communication between the golf's governing bodies has led to a “deserving” Aditi Ashok missing out on the Arjuna award, the Women’s Golf Association of India (WGAI) claimed on Tuesday.

“We were shocked to know that Aditi Ashok’s name was not there in the Arjuna Awards list,” WGAI secretary general Champika Sayal said.

Aditi became the youngest and first Indian to win the Lalla Aicha Tour School and secured her ladies European tour card for the 2016 season. The 20-year-old went on to win the 2016 Hero women’s Indian Open, becoming the first Indian to win a ladies European tour title.

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Sayal put the onus for Aditi’s loss on the Indian Golf Union (IGU), the governing body of golf in the country. She alleged that the parent body refused to convey any information to WGAI.

“They are not doing anything and at the same time they are not willing to transfer charge. The fact is a deserving player has missed out on the Arjuna award and that’s a massive loss. Last year after the Olympics it was a given that Aditi’s name would be there,” she said. "We don’t get access to what is happening in IGU, no meetings, no circulars. Unfortunately, when we see the sport is not being developed we can’t do anything,” she said.

When asked about the issue, IGU director-general Major General Bibhuti Bhushan (Retd) clarified that failure to file Aditi’s nomination was because the golfer herself had not signed a form, which was vital for the paperwork.

“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,” said Bibhuti. "If the player does not sign the form we cannot do anything. Last time she signed and her nomination was sent by us. The mail has been delivered to her this time. Maybe she was disheartened the last time so she didn’t sign it,” he added.

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The IGU had recommended Aditi’s name in 2017 along with SSP Chawrasia. This year, Shubhankar is the only recipient of the Arjuna award from golf.

“The fact is that her name should have been there and if they weren’t able to catch hold of her they should have come to us,” Sayal said.

WGAI's intervention was not possible because Aditi’s case was different from other women’s golfers. She falls under the purview of IGU and not the WGAI.

“She was an amateur golfer, we (WGA) couldn’t give her membership till she was 18. She only turned 18 on 29th March 2016 and went straight from amateur. The IGU was responsible for whatever she did. Aditi missing out is something about which we feel very strongly. We are going to speak to the minister regarding this,” she added.

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