New Delhi, Jul 28: Controversy is boiling over the selection of support staff for the Beijing-bound Indian contigent when the Indian Olympic association (IOA) decided to include Sania Mirza's mother as one of the officials of the tennis squad. Sources in the IOA revealed that Mrs Nasima Mirza would accompany her daughter in the Olympics as one of the coaches of the tennis team.
“There was a time when the IOA was willing to send seven officials for the four-member tennis team as they were unable to withstand pressure from the top stars like Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza," sources said. But finally, the number of support staff for the tennis team has been brought down to four. They are Nandan Bal, Scott Davidson, Renuka Pinto (Sania"s physio) and Nasima Mirza.
The All India Tennis Association (AITA) is believed to have asked for a 10-member support staff, which included Leander"s father, Dr. Vace Paes, Rick Leach and physio Sanjay Singh.
Earlier, IOA president Suresh Kalmadi said that the support staff has been selected as per the Olympic criteria. “We have nothing to hide, I can read out the names of the support staff," Kalmadi said.
Apart from agreeing to Sania Mirza"s request to take her mother along, the IOA, in a shocking move, has also decided keep South African physio Heath Mathews out of the Indian squad.
Mathews, considered one of the best in the business, was attached with the Indian boxing squad for the past several months and was mainly responsible for reviving the career of pugilist Akhil Kumar, who was down with a injury.