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08 Jun, 2021
The Badminton Association of India wants a six-member support staff to accompany the Indian badminton contingent for the Tokyo Olympics and has accordingly written to the Indian Olympic Association to allow chief coach Pullela Gopichand and three foreign coaches to be part of the travelling contingent in addition to two physios.
Gopichand, who’s been to the last three Olympics as head coach and has coached the likes of Sania Nehwal and PV Sindhu for their Olympic glories has stressed on the need for the coaches who have been directly coaching the players must get the preference and thus would like to see Agus Dwi Santoso (Indonesia) – who works with Sai Praneeth, Park Tae Sang (Korea) who works with PV Sindhu and Mathias Boe (Denmark) who trains the doubles duo of Satwik & Chirag to be allowed to accompany players, even if the stringent regulations means that he himself might miss out.
"It is going to be tough, because you get only 1/3rd of the support staff contingent going with the team ... I could be looking at not travelling to Tokyo as well because I do believe that the immediate coaches who have trained the players should go as the first priority," he had recently said during a TV interview.
In addition to the four coaches, two physios - Sumansh Sivalanka and Evangline Baddam have also been sought by the Association to accompany the players on their quest for glory at the Tokyo Olympics.
"Badminton has best shot at medals in Tokyo and a letter was sent to IOA to this respect on Monday mentioning the six-member support team that also includes chief coach Gopichand's name along with the squad of four players," a BAI source told PTI.
Currently, the four Indian shuttlers are training at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium as part of the preparations for the upcoming Olympics, looking to acclimatize to the conditions that they are likely to encounter in Tokyo.