The first day of the state Pramod Mahajan Senior Ranking Badminton Tournament left everyone shocked. Instead of concentrating on their game, some of the players -- mostly U-13 - were left to officiate matches due to lack of match officials.
Ideally, the DBA should have provided 12 officials (three each per match) for matches played simultaneously on four courts. But strangely, it appointed only four officials for around 70 matches on Saturday. Interestingly, they too walked out in the middle of the event.
Dissatisfied with the hospitality, referee J. S. Aneja was the first to walk out. Said Aneja: “I am an old man and I come from Rohini. I am a high blood pressure patient too. They did not have the courtesy to offer us some snacks and tea. So after officiating around seven matches, I gave up and walked out.”
The other referees too boycotted the event and sat outside till they were served refreshments.
More surprising was the attitude of the DBA, who, instead of making amends with the referees, arbitrarily appointed U-13 players to chair the matches.
Sudhanshu Bhatia, vice-president of the DBA explained: “ You must have misunderstood the situation. They have gone outside to take a break.”
Pointing at the children who were officiating the matches, Bhatia said: “A few umpires have taken ill. Some of the referees are on their way and those present have taken a break. So the kids are officiating the matches.”
Meanwhile, following a thin attendance, the duration of the event has been reduced by a day. The final will now take place on November 26.