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Ignored badminton players Sayali Gokhale, Anand Pawar feel humiliated

Current national women’s singles champion Sayali Gokhale and Anand Pawar, ranked 43rd in the world, expressed shock that none of the six franchises bought them during the recently-held Indian Badminton League (IBL) auction.

Sayali Gokhale
Sayali Gokhale reacts after clinching the Tata Open title. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Gokhale (26) went to the extent of saying that she has lost faith in Badminton Association of India (BAI) — the governing body for badminton in India. “I am shocked and don’t know how to react to the situation right now. I feel humiliated. There are a few players who I have beaten during the nationals who have been bought at a high price.

“There are juniors who don’t even have a national ranking, forget international ranking. But they are a part of IBL. It is not the players’ fault. But being the national champion, I at least expected Pune to buy me. I have lost faith in BAI. Now, I don’t expect anything from them. I wonder what’s the use of having won the national championships if it means nothing?” the Pune-based shuttler said.

She went on to further explain how nobody wanted to speak against a particular individual who is the root cause of ruining not just her career but those of many others. “I do not know whom I should blame? There is no clarity about anything. Was my name not taken? I am aware that even speaking against the national body could ruin my career further.

There are players who were picked as they have some political connection; some because of their closeness to a coach. I fail to understand what could be the reason behind ignoring me. Despite all this, I will not stop playing,” she added.

‘Want to move on’
Meanwhile, Pawar, who was a member of India’s Sudirman Cup team, also expressed his disappointment at not being bought during the IBL auction. “It’s hard to think that the other top 13 Indian men’s singles players have been sold and I’m the only one who has been left out.

Anand Pawar
Anand Pawar

It’s not like I don’t have any performances to back me. I made it to the semi-final of the India Super Series event a few months back. I have beaten higher-ranked players like Hu Yun of China (ranked 6th in the world), and Ajay Jayaram (ranked 24th in the world), among others at international events. I was also a part of the Indian team for the Sudirman Cup. Isn’t this enough?” he said.

“I just want to forget the IBL and move on. It hurts me and I feel humiliated. But I promise to come out of it much stronger and better,” Pawar added. It must be noted that some lower ranked players like HS Prannoy (World No 51), Arvind Bhat (71), Anup Sridhar (122) and Aditya Prakash (216) have been picked at the IBL auction. 

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