Indian shuttlers training for the London Olympics in Hyderabad are now the sole responsibility of chief coach P Gopichand, as the Badminton Association of India (BAI) is not playing the role it is supposed to in running the preparatory camp.
As his trainees are facing acute shortage of shuttlecocks for practice - because the association has not been able to ensure supply - Gopichand has to shop for shuttlecocks to ensure that the camp doesn't come to a halt.He has spent nearly Rs. 52 lakh so far from his own pocket on shuttlecocks. The funds came from the 38-year-old former international's badminton academy.
He has also borrowed shuttles from Yonex, a sports equipment firm, with the intention of replacing them with new ones "when the money is reimbursed" by the badminton federation, which is yet to pay him.
Gopichand had recently written to the sports ministry to get some amount released.
"They gave us Rs. 25 lakh," he said.
The BAI used to the money to procure equipment, but the consignment of about 2,000 dozen shuttlecocks is yet to reach the Olympic camp.
"The shipment from Singapore will reach India soon," BAI secretary-general, Vijay Sinha, said.
Gopi Chand fears that the BAI may use the consignment for the final phase of the camp.
"After the Olympics, not many people will think of clearing the dues," he said.
On his part, Sinha said, "We are pursuing the matter with the government."
Gopi Chand doesn't want to rake up a controversy, fearing it might have an adverse effect on the players before the event, which begins on July 27.
The badminton events at the Games begin from July 28.
(With inputs from Anamika Nandedkar)