BAI mulls sending Prajakta to Europe

New Delhi, Jan 31 (IANS) The Badminton Association of India (BAI) is mulling whether Mumbai's Prajakta Sawant could be part of the India squad to Europe for the German Open and the All England Badminton Championships in February-March.

BAI has in principle agreed to clear her name for the European circuit but as things stand, she may not "merit selection" on her ranking to be part of the national squad. That means she will have to fend for herself and that will be a heavy financial burden on her.

BAI secretary general Vijai Sinha said Sawant's case is under consideration and a decision will be taken in a day or two.

"We have not decided on the issue yet, we will do so in the next couple of days," Sinha told IANS from Lucknow.

The BAI rethink follows the Bombay High Court ruling Wednesday that it should consider sending Sawant for the two major European tournaments.

The court ruling came following Sawant's plea in November that national coach Pullela Gopichand was "mentally harassing" her by keeping her out of the national training camps.

"My entry is confirmed for both the tournaments, but I am the only one not listed in the national squad. BAI told me that they are considering whether I could be part of the national team and will get back to me in a couple of days. If I am not part of the official squad there is little time for me to find a sponsor as it is going to be an expensive trip," Sawant told IANS from Bangalore, where she is playing in an All India Senior Ranking Tournament.

Gopichand had recently stated that the matter should be laid to rest in the interest of the sport in the country.

Asked if she was willing to drop the charges against Gopichand in the interest of the game, the former national women's and mixed doubles champion said she can't comment on the subject as she needs to discuss the matter with her lawyer.

"We have not decided on that. I need to discuss with my lawyer on dropping the charges," said the 20-year-old.

Sawant said if she goes to Europe then she will partner Jwala Gutta, who showed support and willingness to play with the Mumbai girl.


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