New Delhi, July 21: International umpire Fine C Dathan will be the lone Indian among a 26-member panel of umpires officiating at the Tokyo Olympics badminton competition. The 50-year-old Dathan from Thiruvananthapuram will be leaving for Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday night after completing all the procedures related to the COVID-19 protocols.
"It is a first Olympics for me and such opportunities come once in a lifetime," Dathan, an associate professor at the department of physical education, Government Ayurveda College, Trivandrum, told a news agency.
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Dathan is a member of the Elite Panel of umpires of the Badminton World Federation (BWF). He had to skip a few tournaments this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but said it won't be a problem as he has the experience of officiating in all major events.
"I was nominated two years ago but then there was this pandemic and also I couldn't go to the pre-Olympics events in Thailand because of COVID restrictions," said the Indian, who last officiated in Japan Super 750 event in 2019.
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"But that won't be an issue, I am confident of doing my job properly. I am thanksful to BWF for acknowledging my performances in the previous tournaments and selecting me." Dathan has an excellent past record, having umpired in almost all major badminton tournaments, including the World Championships, Commonwealth Games, and Thomas and Uber Cup.
"BWF has a certification process where we are rated continuously depending on our performances. There are 50 BWF certificated umpires and 26 has been nominated, one from 26 countries."
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It should be noted that four Indians, including Rio Games silver medallist P V Sindhu, will be participating in the badminton competition that gets underway on July 24.