Friday, June 9, 2017

Feared by police presence, boy gave up tennis match


PUNE: A budding tennis player forfeited his match in one of the singles semi-finals of the ATF Under-14 tournament after allegedly feeling intimidated in the presence of armed police personnel in the vicinity of the court at Balewadi stadium.

The city boy had lost to his opponent from Hyderabad in a doubles match on Wednesday. According to the tournament officials, there was some heated exchanged between the players and their support groups.

Before the singles semi-final match began on Thursday, the armed policemen were present on Court 1 at the Balewadi stadium, allegedly scaring the Pune boy. He barely moved after the match started. When he was 3-0 down in the first set, he conceded the match. When the organizers realized the seriousness of the situation, they offered to restart the match on the Centre court, but the boy declined it.

The tournament supervisor said she had asked the parents of both the players to give their versions, which she would mention in her report to the ATF (Asian Tennis Federation). The Pune boy's parents were taken aback when they saw the cops. "Before the match started, we saw policemen and military personnel in uniform. My son got intimidated and conceded the match. I had no idea why they were there. I asked one of them as to why he was there, but he had no answer," said the Pune boy's father.

"We realized the policemen were in the camp of my son's opponent when we saw his mother talking to them," he said, adding that there was no altercation in the doubles match which his son had lost. The mother of the player from Hyderabad had a completely different tale to tell. "After my son beat the Pune boy in the doubles match, his parents sounded very aggressive and threatening," she said.

"I initially ignored it. But even half-an-hour later, their body language did not change. I am from Hyderabad and I felt scared. So, I decided to call for some support. As I come from an army background, I rang my army contact here, who said he would send someone," she said.

The Hinjewadi police confirmed they had received a call over the alleged altercation between the players on Wednesday. "The boy forfeiting the match had allegedly threatened the player from the other state on Wednesday night. The woman feared trouble and called up the city police control room. Police beat marshals visited the venue to check why the call was made," said the Hinjewadi police.


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