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Indians allege racism, by Indians

sports Updated: Jan 06, 2009 00:35 IST
Sukhwant Basra

National level Indian tennis players at the Chennai Open have alleged they are being racially discriminated against — by fellow Indians.

If you’re a white man wearing shorts and carrying a racquet bag, you can waltz in with no questions asked. If you’re an Indian tennis player, well, then you’d better be sure you are carrying proper authorisation.

“There is open discrimination,” says Ashutosh Singh, who played the qualifiers. “White-skinned players are seldom frisked or stopped but as far as we go, we are fair game.”

Former national champion Sunil Kumar Sipaeya agreed. “We don’t mind being subjected to security checks but when it happens only to Indians, it is cause for concern. I was running around to get my players’ pass made before my match but it was strange when a foreign competitor told me he had never carried his to the event even once.”

Tournament director Fernando Soler told Hindustan Times “no one had complained” to them yet. “The instructions to security are the same for all players. This is the first time we are hearing of this,” he said.

But Kamala Kanan, who has played the event for over a decade, but did not make the cut this time, said it’s always been the case at Chennai. “Indians are always given second rate treatment as compared to foreigners.”