Supriya Saxena, Senior Producer cum Anchor:
Indian Tennis Star Aman Dahiya : The 17-year-old Indian tennis star Aman Dahiya is all set to miss out on the Australian Open junior event owing to strict covid-19 vaccination rules. The event requires all the players competing to be fully vaccinated or risk missing out. This came as a big jolt to Dahiya as the vaccination drive for the under-18 population in India has only started few days ago. (Indian Tennis Star Aman Dahiya)
Ranked number 142 in the world in Junior Rankings, Aman Dahiya was expected to compete at the Australian Open qualifying round and a grade-1 junior event before that. The coach stated that they did seek an exemption for Aman, but the request was rejected since he is eligible to be vaccinated under the Australian guidelines.
Aman Dahiya’s Coach, Jignesh Rawal has commented that he had asked for an exemption from the Australian Open officials. Jignesh also came forward to the officials with a plea stating the under-18 vaccination drive status of India but was refused by the independent expert medical panel. (Indian Tennis Star Aman Dahiya)
Francis Soyer from Tennis Australia responded, “You (Aman) will not be allowed to play the Australian Open junior championships or J1 Traralgon events if you are not fully vaccinated.” (Indian Tennis Star Aman Dahiya)
Jignesh Rawal also states that Aman also received the visa for the Australian Open, but the officials have not budged from their decision. Aman Dahiya also planned to get the vaccination done internationally but was unable to do so.
On the other hand, World rank One Novak Djokovic has been given an exemption from the Vaccination regulation. An Australian Open media release stated, “Djokovic applied for a medical exemption which was granted following a rigorous review process involving two separate independent panels of medical experts.”
ATAGI’s guidelines on temporary exemptions have been read, re-read and reprinted multiple times today to ascertain what grounds there could be for Djokovic to receive an exemption.
Novak Djokovic getting a medical exemption for Covid-19 vaccination from the Australian Open authorities is expected to raise several questions in the coming days, and the echo is being felt closer home.
In a recent interview with Aman Dahiya regarding his Australian Open exit he commented, “they said you need 2 Covid shield vaccinations compulsory and 7 day’s quarantine. Jignesh sir tried his best as much he can by trying from Indian government application, Gujarat government, Haryana government, all India tennis association and try to reach other countries also like Dubai, Muscat.” (Indian Tennis Star Aman Dahiya)
Aman also further added, “Novak Djokovic is a legend, but rules are same for everyone even though I’m not at his level I respect him and Australian Open, but I got this chance after 4 years of hard work, so I don’t want to say too much on this I just want to Focus on next tournaments believe in the process.”
With India opening vaccination drive for teenagers only now, Dahiya, who hails from a humble background, looked at options to get vaccinated in other countries, but logistics and funding issues proved to be stumbling blocks.
World No. 78 Dahiya’s coach Jignesh Rawal of Altevol Tennis academy in Ahmedabad, hit out at the alleged double standards of the Australian Open organizers and the Victoria state government.
Natalia Vikhlyantseva, the Russian tennis player has also tweeted and informed the fraternity and her fans of her not participating in this years Australian Open…she said “Sputnik” is not verified yet.
After his drop-out, Aman plans to complete the vaccination procedure and participate in the French Open which is set to take off in May.
Jignesh Rawal also mentions that Aman will perform in the two grade-2 junior events taking place in Delhi and Kolkata. Aman is dedicated to preparing himself for the French Open in the best way. (Indian Tennis Star Aman Dahiya)