India’s doubles specialist Prajakta Sawant lashed out at the Badminton Association Of India (BAI) for withdrawing, without consent, her entry with Malaysia’s Yogendran Khrishnan from the mixed doubles category of the World Championship.

“I feel very sad to announce that Badminton Association of India has withdrawn my mixed doubles entry with Yogendran Krishnan without informing me or without my consent. This is a very unprofessional thing done by BAI,” Sawant wrote on her Twitter handle.

Sawant also said that the young Indian pair of Rohan Kapoor and Kuhoo Garg, who were ranked 67th in the April 26 World Championship qualification ranking, were selected in their place despite being lower ranked than them in BWF chart at the cut off date.

“Our entry was confirmed by both sides from Malaysia as well as India but BAI withdrew my entry without my permission just to give an lndian pair a chance who is ranked 67 according to the qualification date of World Championships and we were ranked 51 according to World Championships 2018 qualification date.”

However, the BAI defended its decision, saying that Sawant’s entry was withdrawn since her partner Yogendra is a Malaysian citizen.

“Doubles partner of Prajakta is a Malaysian citizen. As such BAI is not empowered to send the name of a Malaysian citizen in Indian team. That is why we have to withdraw the pair,” BAI president Himanta Biswa Sarma told PTI.

Interestingly, Prajakta and Yogendran Khrishnan had competed in the 2017 World Championship at Glasgow. They lost in the second round to the Indian combo of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy.

“What happened earlier I do not know. But as a responsible person I cannot recommend entry of a Malaysian citizen from BAI. BAI can face big problem if we do that without clearance of MEA and sports ministry, if at all we have to even consider such an eventuality.”

According to the BWF’s regulation for eligibility & processing of entries for World Championships, “in the event that players from two different Member Associations compete together as a pair, each player will be counted as 1/2 an entry for the respective Member Association in that event”.

Sawant also alleged that the young pair got selected as they are part of the Gopichand academy.

“I know why this injustice has happened because the players who have qualified for World Championships are from Gopichand Academy and one of the daughters of executive committee member,” she wrote.

“These things are happening for many years and now I cannot take this injustice. Despite not included in National Camp I have been performing professionally to get good World ranking but still association and the concerned coaches have done injustice with me.

“This was a very, very unprofessional move by Badminton Association of India and it’s my right to fight for it.”

Sawant and Yogendran have been playing together for the last year and a half. She has been struggling to get Indian partners in mixed doubles and is being sponsored by The New Vision Badminton Academy in Kuala Lumpur, which is being owned by Yogendran, since 2014.

She has been locked in a legal battle with the BAI and chief coach P Gopichand since filing a case in November 2012 in the Bombay High Court, when she accused Gopichand of causing “mental harassment” after she was refused entry to the national coaching camp in Hyderabad.

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