Unfair selection hits Sirikit Cup team
In December, the Ladies Section of the Indian Golf Union (IGU) sent out an e-mail to "eight probables", inviting them to the trials for the Asia-Pacific Amateur Ladies Invitational Golf Championships, better known as the Queen Sirikit Cup. Aditi Ashok did not figure in the list, yet the 12-year-old will tee-off when the event gets underway at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) on Wednesday.
Expectedly, Aditi's last-minute inclusion has caused widespread discontent. Apart from her credentials, questions are being raised on how the selection committee drafted her into the squad, and subsequently the three-member team, without letting her go through the grind of the selection process, which included preliminary selection rounds (Jan 4-7) followed by the physical condition-cum-training camp (Jan 17-Feb 11).
Aditi came in just before the training camp ended and in time for the final selection rounds, which ended on Feb 25 at the DGC. After four days, she returned a card of 22-over.
The guidelines at the start of the preliminary selection rounds (played over 72 holes) stated that the "top-five would be chosen for the squad, which would have a total of six players". The need to water down the group did not arise as just five - Gauri Monga, Vani Kapoor, Ankita Tiwana, Mehar Atwal and Shraddhanjali Singh turned up. The bunch got further pruned when Shraddhanjali was denied leave after the physical conditioning-cum-training camp commenced.
HT's investigation reveals that Aditi's selection is based on her winning the Billoo Sethi Trophy --- the qualifiers for the All-India Ladies Amateur Championship at the Bangalore Golf Club, her home course.
An IGU official, who requested anonymity fearing a backlash, told HT, "Aditi has talent but for one who has little experience of playing the Ladies' Circuit, the selection is baffling. He was referring to her appearance in just three of the six mandatory events on the Ladies Amateur Tour this season. Incidentally, all three were in Bangalore.
Contacted for her reaction, Rita Punwani, chairperson of the IGU's Ladies Section, was evasive. "I'm busy with too many things and might not be able to do justice to your questions."