Guwahati, Feb 16: The Senior National Badminton Championship here on Saturday got embroiled in a controversy as runners-up Railways alleged that newly crowned champions Airport Authority of India (AAI) have fielded “ineligible” players and appealed for their disqualification.
In a letter to Badminton Association of India (BAI) Secretary Ajay Singhania, the Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) said the teams had been informed they cannot field players on scholarship and on contract in the team championship ahead the Junior Nationals in December.
“The AAI employs players only on contract and this makes players ineligible and hence should be disqualified. Our team manager Gajender Singh had raised the issue at the managers’ meeting but his objections were overlooked. This has resulted in Indian Railways missing out on the title,” the RSPB letter read.
The AAI had won the title after beating Railways 3-2 in the final.
Singhania, however, said the BAI had allowed the AAI to compete since they had qualified for the nationals after participating in the All India Inter Institutional tournament in August 2018, before the rule regarding scholarships and contracts was announced.
“The inter-institutional tournament, which was the qualifying event for the inter-state championship, was conducted before the Junior Nationals and thus we had to allow the AAI to play at the nationals,” Singhania said.
“We want teams to field players who are employed because it will help athletes obtain permanent jobs,” he said.