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Saina turns up late, BWF not happy

other Updated: Jun 14, 2011 01:47 IST
Anupma Tripathi
Anupma Tripathi
Hindustan Times
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First, a spat with her long-time coach and mentor Pullela Gopi Chand, and now breaching Badminton World Federation (BWF) rules, Saina Nehwal is surely not playing her cards right.

The world No. 4, who is currently in Singapore to defend her title at the Singapore Open Super Series tournament starting on Tuesday, turned up more than an hour late for the media conference and has attracted the ire of the world's governing body.

According to the Super Series regulations that came into effect from January this year, it is mandatory for players to participate in at least one promotional activity of not more than an hour's duration and Saina was asked to attend a media conference with a few other players on Monday.

The new regulations have been put in place to promote the game across the globe and the representatives of the Athletes Commission were also part of the decision-making process.

"Saina was about an hour late. The conference was scheduled at 2.30pm. Saina reached at around 3.45pm but the room was already occupied, so the media had to interview her haphazardly in the hotel foyer," said S Selvam, marketing manager of badminton's 12-leg Super Series event.

While Saina was late, former world champion Lin Dan, 2004 Olympic gold-medallist Taufik Hidayat and men's defending champion Sony Dwi Kuncoro gave the media conference a skip.

"We will seek an explanation from all of them," Selvam said. This is not the first time that Saina has given the promotional activity a miss. The CWG gold-medallist had skipped the pre-match conference of the inaugural India Open Super Series in New Delhi.

The organisers had then cited an injury for her non-appearance. However, the 21-year-old attended a promotional event for a soft drink a few hours later.

Gopi Chand tried to explain the reason behind her late arrival on Monday. "We extended our practice session since we managed to get the main hall and then she left for lunch. By the time she reached the press conference venue, it was already late," he said.

When contacted, Badminton Association of India secretary-general, Vijay Sinha, said he was unaware of the incident and had not received any communication from the BWF yet.

"Now that it has come to my notice, I will talk to the chief coach about it."

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