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5 controversies that rocked Indian sport in 2017

Deve
Davinder Singh Kang
Sidharth Yadav

2017 was an eventful year for Indian sports, in general, with the rise of Indian football, Virat Kohli scaling new heights in cricket, Indian shuttlers reaching their best rankings and much more.

However, on the other side of things, many of India's top athletes, across a spectrum of sports, were also involved a lot of controversies.

Here is a look at the five biggest ones!


#1 Davinder Singh threatens to leave India after lack of support

In September, the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) Committee's list of 107 athletes, who were to be supported for the upcoming international events, was released. The most notable exclusion was of javelin star Davinder Singh Kang, who expressed his unhappiness over the decision and even threatened to leave India and join Italy.

He was India's only finalist at the World Championships and in an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, he went on to say that, "I don't have any other option but to quit my country. If India does not help me, then I have to leave. At the moment, I am the best in India and still, I am not getting any help. I was the finalist at the World Championship and such negligence towards me is unacceptable."

#2 The doubles vs singles row in badminton

Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa voiced their concern
Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa voiced their concern

The controversy over the differentiation between singles and doubles badminton players arose once again at the Junior National Badminton Championships held in Guwahati in December.

The Assam Badminton Association decided to award cars to winners of the singles category while only a cash prize to winners of doubles, that too a mere 26,000 per player. Doubles badminton stars Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa had a lot to say over the issue, they expressed their views on Twitter.

Ashwini Ponappa, a former Commonwealth Games gold medalist in doubles exclaimed, β€œEqual treatment and encouragement would definitely help in getting better performances in all events as opposed to just 1 or 2 events.”

#3 Sushil Kumar's controversial comeback in the Nationals

19th Commonwealth Games - Day 7: Wrestling
Sushil Kumar

Sushil Kumar returned to competitive wrestling after a long break of three years earlier this year at the Senior Championships. However, he found himself in controversy yet again as he fought two bouts for a mere 2 minutes and 33 seconds, after which three of his opponents decided to give him a walkover.

Sushil Kumar ended up clinching the gold medal in what was one of the most controversial moments of the year, with the two-time Olympic medalist not fighting for even a second in the quarterfinal, semifinal or final.

On being asked about the whole walkover scenario which received a mixed reaction, Sushil said he would have done the same had he been facing a senior wrestler. Other sports personalities and some actors like Farhan Akhtar were of the opinion that Kumar should not have accepted the medal.

#4 The Kohli-Kumble rift

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The biggest controversy that rocked the cricketing world was that of a possible rift between India captain Virat Kohli and head coach Anil Kumble. The controversy ended in Anil Kumble resigning from the position and was replaced by Ravi Shastri.

The controversy arises because of differences between Kohli and Kumble over the team's style of play. However, it later emerged there were a variety of issues, including differences over players’ selection and remuneration. Kohli had in fact been left unhappy over Kumble reportedly not keeping his word and backtracking over issues involving players.

Kohli eventually said that he respected Kumble's decision to step down while Kumble posted the following message on Twitter:

#5 The Paes-Bhupathi WhatsApp controversy

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Paes was left fuming after being dropped from the Davis Cup squad

For the first time in 27 years, Leander Paes was dropped from India's Davis Cup squad earlier this year. Non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi picked Rohan Boppana over Paes and this sparked a huge controversy.

Paes went on to say that he wasn't picked by Bhupathi courtesy their poor personal dynamics. He said that Bhupathi had flouted selection criteria, which was highly unprofessional of him.

When asked if it was end of the road for Paes, Bhupathi responded by saying that, "Not at all, I made it clear to everyone involved, including Leander, that this is by no means the end of the road. His being in the team is invaluable, the experience, the energy he brings to Davis Cup."

Bhupathi in an attempt to defend himself made a controversial move, uploaded his WhatsApp conversation with Paes on Facebook as well.

Edited by Shraishth Jain

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