IMAGE: Aman Dahiya had to compete in the singles qualifying event of the junior Australian Open but since India started vaccination for teenagers only from January 3, he could not be vaccinated. Photograph: Aman Dahiya/Instagram
The Sports Ministry slammed organisers of the Australian Open, saying they have wrongfully denied Indian tennis player Aman Dahiya an opportunity to compete in the junior Grand Slam by rejecting his application for vaccine exemption even as they accepted Novak Djokovic’s request.
Dahiya had to compete in the singles qualifying event of the junior Australian Open but since India started vaccination for teenagers only from January 3, he could not be vaccinated, which is a pre-condition to enter the first Grand Slam of the season.
Ranked 78, Dahiya is only one of the two Indians in junior top-100 along with Chirag Duhan (77).
The Australian Open organisers have accepted only four-five applications for vaccine exemption, including that of defending champion Novak Djokovic, out of 26 requests. It is not known, if that includes juniors.
“World No 1, Novak gets exemption from two vaccine doses rule and Aman Dahiya is refused entry as he is 17 and does not have vaccine. The blame has to go to Australian Open organisers. This type of third world treatment given to India has to stop,” a sports ministry official said.
Djokovic has not yet explained the vaccination exemption that he secured on medical grounds.
Victoria state government had mandated that only fully vaccinated players, officials and fans will be allowed to enter Melbourne Park for the first Grand Slam of the year.