Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA) has issued a statement and clarified that Saina Nehwal’s decision to part ways from Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad before the 2012 Rio Olympics and to practice under the guidance of Vimal Kumar in Bengaluru was her own and the academy had no role to play. The clarification came a day after it was reported that Gopichand, in a chapter titled ‘Bitter Rivalry’ of an upcoming book ‘Dreams of a Billion: India and the Olympic Games’ had opened up about how grieved and hurt he was on Saina’s choice to practice at the Padukone Academy in Bangalore under Vimal Kumar’s guidance after the 2014 World Championship.
Gopichand has further stated in the book that he was deeply hurt that Padukone, Vimal along with Olympic Gold Quest official Viren Rasquinha had persuaded Saina to leave Hyderabad.
Responding to the allegations leveled by the national coach of the Indian badminton team, PPBA issued a statement that said, “PPBA did not have any role to play in Saina Nehwal’s decision to move to Bangalore and train at PPBA. However, Vimal Kumar did help Saina in her slump period that saw her attain World No.1 ranking, besides getting silver medal at the All England Championships and World Championships.”
Gopichand has also written in the book that he is surprised that Padukone, India foremost badminton champion, never said anything encouraging about him.
To this, the PPBA responded, “PPBA has the utmost regard for Gopichand’s contributions to Indian badminton as a player and a coach. We have also acknowledged Gopichand’s contribution to his wards’ successful performance at the world level and has always maintained good relations with him.”
It is to be noted that national coach Gopichand once himself was the student of Prakash Padukone and practiced under his guidance. Gopichand later went on to associate himself with coach Ganguly Prasad after winning the All England in 2001.
Padukone Academy further said through the statement that the academy has been preparing shuttlers for the past 25 years and it has constantly supported the interest of the players in every possible way. The PPBL further said that many players have moved on from their Academy at different stages of their carrier and the academy never believed in restricting their growth. PPBA concluded that the academy will continue to support players and its policy towards the player will remain the same.