The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked the Badminton Authority of India (BAI) to consider 19-years-old Prajakta Sawant's name for the two upcoming international badminton tournaments. The court was hearing the petition filed by Ms. Sawant against chief national coach Pullela Gopichand alleging mental harassment, after she was refused entry in the All India National Coaching Camp in Hyderabad last year.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice AV Mohta was informed by Ms. Sawant’s counsel Piyush Shah that she had filed an application to the BAI seeking entry in to tournaments like German Open and All England Open badminton championships, along with Jwalla Gutta in Women’s doubles game.
The BAI however told the court that players cannot directly approach them seeking entry and the association with which they are affiliated, Petroleum Sports Promotion Board in this case, has to forward the entry proposal.
“Since the last date of entries for these two tournaments is January 29, it would be difficult for petitioners to get their proposal forwarded by her association. Hence, the BAI should consider the entry for both the players by 29,” directed the division bench.
While arguing her performance, the court also asked the BAI as why they want to play with her career and also with the sport. “In last six months she (Ms. Sawant) has not been allowed to participate in any tournament. The sport is suffering due to this,” observed the court.
The young player in her petition has also alleged in her petition that Mr. Gopichand promoted players from his private training academy. The court has asked the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to look in to the matter to resolve it. The next hearing of the case will take place on January 30.