'Paes didn't need to drag Vishnu Vardhan into this'

This is India's largest ever tennis contingent to the Olympics and each one of them has a point to prove. Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna will want to prove they are the best team. Sania Mirza will want to show that she deserves more respect. Leander Paes will want to show he is India's best player. Vishnu Vardhan will want to show that he has the 'right' shoes. Somdev Devvarman will want to show that he is fit.  Rushmi Chakravarthi will want to show that she is the second best women's doubles player in the country.

Either which way, India will have a very focussed and motivated team at the Olympics. But will that count for much?

Paes should have left Vardhan out of the argument. Reuters

Paes should have left Vardhan out of the argument. Reuters

It all began a very long time ago but things had died down a bit. However, it took one inspired letter from Sania to kickstart them into action once again and start the argument on whether India's women sports stars are treated on par with the men.

"Of course, they are not. For me, the argument stands on two legs. First being, the associations ignore good performing women because it is so conventional. It just seems like the done thing. The other is that we are actually ignoring 50 per cent of our population. Some of our best athletes in the last 20-30 years, since the time of PT Usha, have all been women," said veteran sports writer Ayaz Memon.

"Women do get the short end of the stick. And in Sania's case, by sending the congratulatory message to her mom, shows just how short-sighted the AITA was. Hopefully, the other associations learn from AITA's mistakes," he further added.

And then comes the case of Paes finally agreeing to play the Olympics after all that drama. He tried to have the last word in the argument but it probably didn't come out in the way he wanted.

"I think Paes is taking a potshot at AITA. It is a mix between being patronising and being caustic. I would have been happier if Leander had not got down to making these kinds of comments because he didn't need to drag Vardhan into this," said Ayaz.

"Vardhan is overjoyed to be in the Olympics so he will take a few blows which is not the best thing to do. But he'll be happy to be part of the event and give it his best shot."

Watch the entire discussion between Pulasta Dhar and Ayaz Memon in the video above.