Badminton Association of India's (BAI) policy to give foreign exposure to youngsters is a commendable step.
But this scheme will bear fruits only if the selected players get to play and not miss out on action because of their lower ranking, thus enjoying a holiday at the tax payer's expense or staying home. The benefits of the policy will be lost in both eventualities.
Such a thing happened on Tuesday. Two of the three women players—Aparna Balan and Krishna Deka Raja—selected for the Danish Open, that began in Aarhus, Denmark, on Tuesday, decided to stay home as they were not sure that they would get an entry into the five-star event. Both Balan and Krishna Deka were placed in the reserved list for the qualifiers.
Though Krishna Deka was included in the qualifying draw following some withdrawals on the eve of the tournament, it was too late for the Oil India employee to reach Denmark.
Krishna Deka and Balan were also picked by BAI to play in the women's doubles event but were only fourth reserves for the qualifiers and thus had to withdraw from that too.
Also left in the lurch was double specialist V Diju, who was to participate in the men's doubles with JBS Vidyadhar and mixed doubles with Balan.
In both the event, the pairs were on the reserved list.
"Since I had no guarantee of getting into the qualifying draw I decided against going to Denmark," Diju told Hindustan Times from Hyderabad on Tuesday.
However, this is not an isolated case. Even in the two-star Bitburger Luxembergo Open, played at Saarbrucken, in Germany last week, the entire women's team was unsure of getting a chance to play as all the three selected players—Neha Pandit, Ruth Misha and Anita Ohlan—were on the reserved list because of their low rankings.
Though they went to Germany, only two of them got a chance to play the qualifiers thanks to wholesome withdrawals.
Ohlan had to sit out of the singles event and played only the doubles and lost in the first round.
When contacted selection committee member and former international Pradeep Gandhe expressed surprise over these incidents and added that the issue would be addressed soon.
"We had not thought about such eventualities. But from now on we will have to take these things into consideration."
There is a school of thought even among players that should start with 'A' grade and satellite events, gain ranking points and then move up to the major tournaments.
This will also help prepare them for bigger battles. But the BAI thinktank has been sending teams only for major events, throwing the youngsters directly into the deep where they even fail to get to play.
Hopefully the recent experiences would be a lesson for BAI and it will implement its selection policies taking into consideration such things before picking teams for major championships.