‘Gopi did no wrong, but govt could have done much’
Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa might have accused Pullela Gopichand of bias but former coach Vimal Kumar on Thursday said the national chief coach has done no wrong and felt the Sports Ministry could have included the top women’s doubles pair in the TOP Scheme.
Commenting on the raging tiff between Jwala-Ashwini and Gopichand, Vimal told PTI: “I don’t think that Gopi has done anything wrong in this particular aspect. The Sports Ministry could have included Jwala and Ashwini in the TOP Scheme.”
“If they (Jwala and Ashwini) are included in that category and provided the support, definitely it would be of use,” he added. Asked how he would have addressed the issue, Vimal said: “My approach would have been - if the players have done well and come in top 13, then I would have pushed their case. For Olympic qualifications, we need specialised attention in doubles.
“We need some experts travelling with us which will help us for the next one year. This approach would have been better rather than the issue turning into a personal tiff,” said Vimal, who has been coaching Saina Nehwal ever since she split with long-time coach Gopichand.
Asked if it was fair on the part of the players to level allegations against Gopichand, Vimal said, “Yes, because he is a national coach, and in that capacity the players feel he should push their case a lot more.” Further enquired if it was in Gopichand’s hands to push Jwala and Ashwini’s case, Vimal said he was unsure but suggested that the panel members of TOP Scheme should take a relook into the whole issue. “Whether it is in his hands I am not very sure. I also don’t think it is entirely up to him.
There are other panel members, <g data-gr-id="36">may be</g> they should have a relook at the whole thing,” said Vimal. .
former National champion, Vimal said the outburst of Jwala and Ashwini for non-inclusion in TOP Scheme should be seen in the backdrop of the singles players getting all attention.
“In any sports, attention is fully on single players, whether it is lawn tennis or badminton, doubles players don’t get much importance. Whether it has been Wimbledon or French Open, it has always been singles players. That’s how it is,” he said.
However, Vimal also said it would be unfair to ask the government to do everything because the sports ministry has been doing a lot for individual players who are performing well.
“We cannot ask the government to do everything - it is tough. The sports ministry, they are doing a lot in terms of supporting individual players who have been performing well,” he said.