Are some BAI officials trying to unsettle Gopichand?

HYDERABAD: Sparks are expected to fly at Badminton Association of India’s (BAI) executive committee meeting as it is reliably learnt that a strong lobby is working behind the scenes to unsettle chief coach Pullela Gopichand.

As any move to remove Gopichand, who had single-handedly changed the face of Indian badminton, will backfire some officials are doing whatever they can to undermine the position of the chief coach without removing him from the post. BAI’s executive committee will be meeting in Bengaluru to take a call on several important issues on Sunday.

Ever since former president Akhilesh Das Gupta passed away recently, some BAI officials having started baying for Gopi’s blood. It is learnt that they warmed up to the new leadership and presented a picture that the doubles scenario is quite bleak, despite the fact that doubles teams started winning titles, and that there are several flaws in the selection procedure.

Sources said that there is a proposal to clip the powers of Gopichand by appointing an independent juniors and doubles coaches, thereby diluting the position of the chief coach.

Another move in the pipeline is to bring in Gopi’s biggest critics into the national coaching system and irritate him. There are also proposals to conduct the national camps at different places under different coaches.

All these moves may rattle Gopichand but it remains to be seen how the new president reacts to these proposals. In BAI, it is the president who calls the shots and his decisions are rarely contested.

However, secretary Anup Narang said that there is no threat to Gopi’s position. “Gopichand remains our chief coach. How can we forget his contribution. Over the years he brought so so many good results to the country including two Olympic medals,” Narang said.

The association will also be adopting the National Sports Code.

According to Narang, the association will be making changes to its constitution so that it is in line with the National Sports Code. “We will be making changes to the constitution so that it is in tune with the National Sports Code. We may have a separate programme for juniors and some emphasis on doubles,” Narang told ToI.

If BAI adopts the code a few senior officials, who have completed the age of 70 years, will have to resign.
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