New Delhi:The Sports Ministry has ordered a 'thorough' probe into the selection of tennis coaches for India's preparation for the 2010 Commonwealth Games while dismissing claims that shoestring funds came in the way of engaging quality coaches.
Under the 'Preparation of Indian Teams for Commonwealth Games, 2010' scheme, Dough MacCurdy of the United States and six Indians - Vishal Uppal (National Coach), Arun Kumar, Kawaljit Singh, Nar Singh, Sukhbir Singh and Shalini Thakur -were identified, in consultations with the All India Tennis Association (AITA), for the coaching roles.
But subsequently it was brought to the Ministry's notice that coaches outside Delhi were completely ignored while three of the selected belonged to the same family. There was also questions about Uppal's acceptability as chief coach to senior players like Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi.
"Taking into account all these factors, the Ministry has ordered a thorough probe into the issue," a Ministry source said.
"The idea behind making public the entire list was to get feedback on the panel and now that we have got it, we are going to ensure that the right persons are selected," he said.
Davis Cup coach Nandan Bal and Fed Cup coach Enrico Piperno were also conspicuous by their absence in the coach's panel, something the AITA blamed on lack of money.
Though AITA secretary general Anil Khanna claimed that lack of money came in the way of engaging quality coaches, his argument did not find any taker in the Ministry.
"See, money is not going to be an issue. If they get the right person, fund would not be a problem. The Ministry will extend its full support to them to get quality coaches," the Ministry official said.
The Ministry is not happy about the dress fiasco in Beijing Olympics where Sania Mirza and Sunitha Rao took part in the Opening Ceremony in casuals.
The Sports Ministry is also less than impressed by the performance of NRI players, including Sunitha, Shikha and Neha Uberoi and wonders the logic behind allowing them to represent the country.
The growing belief is that while it may suit short-term purpose, inviting mediocre players from abroad to represent the country would do more harms than good in the long run and instead, AITA should concentrate on nurturing home-grown talent.