India's participation in soft tennis at the Asian Games in Guangzhou is in doubt as almost all the players in the 10-member team have refused to attend re-trials, scheduled for Tuesday at Ahmedabad.
They feel the re-trial is an attempt to include 'disruptive' and 'non-performing' players, who were removed from the earlier national camps.
The Amateur Soft Tennis Federation of India (ASTFI) bosses too have been taken aback by the decision to hold re-trials at a time when the final phase of training for the Games is underway.
ASTFI chief, Raju Parmar, accepted that after some players complained to the sports ministry about 'wrong selections', the federation had been asked to conduct the trials again. "Our selection was free and fair, and it was based on merit. I don't know why they lodged a complaint with the ministry. Still, we are ready for re-trials on Tuesday," Parmar, a former Rajya Sabha MP told HT from Ahmedabad.
"There will be no favouritism in the re-trials, so performers should not worry."
He advised the agitated players not to take any decision in haste. "This is for the first time the event has been inducted in the Games and our players should aim for the country's pride rather than get into personal tussles."
A 10-member team, including five boys, was chosen on the basis of its performance in the previous three camps. Three players allegedly misbehaved with teammates and didn't attend the full duration of the camps. "These players lodged a complaint with the ministry, and now we are being asked to appear for re-trial. We have decided to boycott it," said a bunch of players on condition of anonymity.
"All 10 of us have decided not to be part of the re-trials, and if forced, we will lodge a complaint with the ministry," said a player.