India's U-14 tennis players set to miss prestigious Asian event

The participation of the Indian boys and girls in the Asian Division-1 U-14 Development tennis event -- which features two tournaments, starting from May 4 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan -- has become uncertain.

The U-14 event, featuring two tournaments, was originally scheduled to be held in Pune from April 27, but had to be shifted owing to the uncertainty of hosting such events in India.   -  REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE/REUTERS

The participation of the Indian boys and girls in the Asian Division-1 U-14 Development tennis event -- which features two tournaments, starting from May 4 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan -- has become uncertain.

The All India Tennis Association (AITA) had sought the clearance of the team and the flight tickets from the Union Government. With the government refusing to foot the bill, the AITA did try to bear the expense of the team. But now, it looks to have washed its hands on the subject, owing to a variety of reasons.

“We have explored ways of sending our team but unfortunately, because of Pakistan closing its air space, all flights to Tashkent have to bypass Pakistan which has increased the time taken and costs. In addition, because of summer rush and Jet Airways shutting down, seat availability has also reduced, resulting in increase of ticket costs to nearly a lakh of rupees. Further, flights that are available are via distant cities, resulting in increase of journey time to nearly 24 hours’’, the AITA told the organises and the parents of the six players.

Ayushmaan Arjeria, Yuvan Nandal, Agriya Yadav in the boys section, and Pari Singh, Suhita Maruru and Chahana Budhubhati are the six players selected for the event.

“All six players who have got selected to represent India are already disappointed. The best players out of these tournaments may get a chance to compete in Europe for five weeks,’’ said Kirti Singh, the mother of Pari Singh, the country’s No.1 girl in the age group.

Pari had performed very well in the Asia Oceania World Junior tennis event in Malaysia, even though the team did not qualify for the world group stage.

“Last two years, Pari missed her two academic sessions because of tennis training and tournaments just to maintain her No.1 position and to get this opportunity. It looks lost now’’, said Kirti Singh, quite dejected with the turn of events.

It may be noted that the U-14 event, featuring two tournaments, was originally scheduled to be held in Pune from April 27, but had to be shifted owing to the uncertainty of hosting such events in India, especially with players from Pakistan also scheduled to be part of the exercise.

The parents, despite losing hope, are trying to impress on the authorities the urgency and need for the players to go for this event.

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