first_imgBy Amanpreet Singh New Delhi, Apr 27 (PTI) The All India Tennis Associations plan of conducting 44 international events on the back of government support this season is unlikely to materialise with the Sports Ministry indicating that it is not keen to provide funds. The ministry has told AITA that holding tournaments is strictly a national federations domain and the government can only chip in for some cases. Indias tennis calendar has a barren look to it as ATP Challengers have vanished from it, leaving the countrys players with no Tier-II tournaments which can help them earn ranking points and money. In 2015, India hosted four USD 50,000 Challengers and in 2016 it was reduced to two — Delhi Open and the Pune Challenger. This season, four months have passed but the players have not got a single Challenger to compete in as the Delhi Open, which is usually held in February, has been delayed. Only one state association — MSLTA — has committed to continue with its Challenger in Pune in October. In the 2015 season, India had hosted 19 mens ITF Futures and 16 womens ITF events but last year, not event half of that could take place. AITA Secretary General Hironmoy Chatterjee had recently said that they have submitted a proposal to the government through Annual Calendar for Training and Competition (ACTC), seeking help of Rs 11 crore for hosting 44 international tournaments. AITA was hoping that the government would chip in with this funding, while it would raise money for the rest of the cost. However, a ministry source, who is in know of the things, said organising tournaments is a Federations responsibility. “We have told them that organising such tournaments is the responsibility of the Federation and its Members and Affiliates. Government can only supplement to some extent. We can maybe help them with one big ATP tournament,” the official told PTI. “Moreover the Federation should also work on a strong development programme, which the government would be happy to support,” the source added. Sports Minister Vijay Goel further said that his ministry was not considering any proposal to fund tennis tournaments as claimed by AITA. It has been an onerous task to raise sponsors for tennis events in India with hardly any corporate house coming forward to support the tournaments. To host a USD 50,000 Challenger event, a state association requires at least USD 100,000. “We have been asking for help for the last 4 to 5 years and at last the government has agreed to support tournaments,” Chatterjee had said when quizzed about lack of tournaments in the country. “We could not do Challengers last year because whoever ventured into Challengers lost a lot of money. They could not raise money required to host these Challengers. All over the world, its the government that supports these events. “We have included Challengers in ACTC and we have told them (the government) you have to immediately give us approval because for allotment of these tournaments, you require three months time to apply,” he said. As per the arrangement, the AITA has to first host tournaments and then ask for reimbursement of funds from the government to pass it on to the state associations. AITA claims to host 855 tournaments in a year, including talent series, national series, state ranking, national ranking, mens and ladies without any support. But it says to host international tournaments, government support is a must. It will be extremely tough for the Indian players to go up the ranking ladder without Challengers in the country. Players such as Ramkumar Ramanathan, Prajnesh Gunnseawaran and N Sriram Balaji need to move from the Futures level to Challengers level to make any progress. PTI AT PM PMadvertisementlast_img read more

first_imgDhaka: Myanmar on Monday expressed its readiness to take back Rohingya Muslims even as Bangladesh said the neighbouring country must earn the persecuted minority group’s trust for launching the repatriation process, amid fears of their fate once they returned to their homeland. The development came as a high-level Myanmar delegation visited the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar and talked to their representatives. “I asked them (Rohingyas) that this is the right time to consider whether they should go back or not, because we provided explanation to their key issues,” Myanmar’s Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Myint Thu, who led a 19-member delegation, told reporters in Dhaka. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US”Myanmar is ready to welcome the Rohingyas (back home)… but the only thing is they (Rohingyas) have to decide (about their return) by themselves,” Thu said. Bangladesh’s acting Foreign Secretary Kamrul Ahsan, who was also present at the briefing, however, said Naypyidaw must generate trust among the Rohingyas for their spontaneous return. “As long as confidence is not built up they (Rohingys) won’t go back,” he said. Ahsan added: “We (Bangladesh) won’t push back anyone forcibly”. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsSome 740,000 Rohingya fled a crackdown by Myanmar’s military in 2017 in Rakhine state and are living in camps in Cox’s Bazar. Myanmar has faced international pressure to allow the Rohingya to return to Rakhine and grant them citizenship rights. A 19-member Myanmar delegation in the last two days visited the Rohingya camps, one specially erected for Hindu residents of Rakhine who were also forced to flee their home along with the Rohingya Muslims. This was the third visit by a Myanmar delegation to the Rohingya camps, but this time they were accompanied by a 5-member ASEAN observer group during the interactions. Thu said during the interactions they tried to convince the Rohingyas to go back to Myanmar, saying the situation in their homeland in northern Rakhine is now better and called the discussion “very candid”. “Then we tried to build up trust between the community leaders and our delegation,” he said. Thu said they also showed fact-sheet to Rohingyas detailing the proposed repatriation process as well as their access to justice and access to education, health and social services. The top Myanmar foreign affairs bureaucrat said a part of the discussion was related to the Rohingya’s citizenship NVC card issues. Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, meanwhile, in a separate media interaction on Monday said Myanmar has expressed its plan for the first time to provide the Rohingyas the natural citizenship which he called a “major breakthrough”.last_img read more