Organisation — the two sides of it

In the limelight... Students from Emerald Heights International School performing during the draw ceremony in Indore.-

Long before Yuki Bhambri set the tone for a 5-0 victory in the Davis Cup tie against Chinese Taipei, it was the school children who stole the thunder from the Indian team.

The Emerald Heights International School came up with a classy cultural presentation at the auditorium in a grand fashion and the players of both teams were given a hero’s welcome.

The presentation moved the hearts of everyone, as thousands of students filled the indoor arena to provide a vibrant atmosphere. The president of the All India Tennis Association (AITA), Anil Khanna, the Indian team captain Anand Amritraj, and the referee David Smith of New Zealand where overwhelmed and declared that they had never witnessed such a ceremony in their long association with the game around the world.

Of course, there was a glitch to the excellent inauguration as the posters at the school did not have Rohan Bopanna. Instead, Bopanna’s doubles partner on the professional circuit, Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan, was decorating the walls and poster boards.

Once the faux pas was pointed out by a television reporter, the organisers hurriedly tore the Qureshi part, though his face was clearly visible even afterwards, but could not find a Bopanna poster in such a short time to fill that space.

On to the playing arena over three days, it was gratifying to see thousands of spectators filling the arena with their families, along with hundreds of school children. However, the print media was completely ignored, and pushed to one corner as the prime viewing space was reserved for the AITA President’s box.

On the last day, midway through the dead fifth rubber, one of the members of the organising committee chose to remove the bags of the media personnel who were away attending a press conference, from their chairs, and offered the space to school staff accompanying the children. He lacked basic courtesy and showed utter contempt for the media, even though there was no ticket for the event.

The organisers felt that a good work room was enough for the media, and ignored the need for good seats to watch the action unhindered.

On a different note, it was a pity that the entertainment finished quickly on the last day, even as spectators kept pouring into the arena. Such enthusiasm, if channelised, can augur well for tennis in the region.

Kamesh Srinivasan