Ever heard of a national coach competing against his own wards in a national level tournament?
Well, here is the queer case of Siddharth Jain and Anuj Gupta, both members of the BAI coaching panel, who ended up competing in the singles and doubles events at the All India Major ranking tournament in Indore, which was held from Dec 25 to 29.
When contacted, Siddharth Jain told HT that he was not in the coaching committee anymore. “I left the coaches committee a couple of months back. Anyway, what is the harm if I try my hand at playing in an All-India Major Ranking event?” However, BAI secretary LC Gupta contradicted his claim, saying that Jain had not informed the BAI of his resignation. “Siddharth Jain has not yet informed us about his decision to leave the panel. And I fail to understand how a coach can play a national level tournament.” an angry Gupta said.
Also, it is reliably learnt that the BAI secretary has sent a written instruction to all BAI units asking them not to include coaches in tournament draws. On his part, Anuj Gupta said that he competed in the doubles event of the Indore tournament just to keep himself fit. “Look, there is no need to read much into the fact that I played at Indore. More than anything else, I wanted to test my fitness,” he said. The decision of coaches to try their hand at the senior tournament has not gone down too well with the players. A player, who did not wish to be named, said: “I fail to understand their rationale behind competing. Surely they were aware if they (coaches) lose early, our respect for them would ebb a little.”