He had played a crucial role in her preparations for the games

Coaches representing Sports Authority of India (SAI) are peeved at the behaviour of Olympic Games medallist in badminton Saina Nehwal, her coach Pullela Gopichand, and her father Harvir Singh. They are up in arms against them for failing to mention the name of senior SAI coach P.U. Bhaskar Babu during the victory celebrations on Tuesday in Hyderabad.

The 56-year-old coach from Vijayawada played a crucial role in Saina’s preparation for the all-important quadrangular games. He took up the assignment as Saina’s personal coach after her “misunderstandings” with her mentor Gopichand and played a stellar role in her victories in the super series tournaments thus earning the sobriquet – the lucky mascot of the champion shuttler. However, the critical patch-up between ‘Dronacharya’ Gopichand and Saina before the Games pushed Bhaskar into the oblivion making him a victim of the games played by the administrators.

“It is unfortunate that Saina and Gopi failed to mention Bhaskar Babu’s name at the press conference. The veteran coach has suddenly become an untouchable. After all, Bhaskar played his bit in the medal-winning pursuit of the Hyderabadi shuttler,” felt Padmaja Bala, SAI kabaddi coach. “This behaviour will not augur well for the coaches who sweat it out sincerely,” she added. Padmaja also said that Saina’s decision to have Bhaskar as her personal coach played havoc with Vijayawada-based coach’s personal life as he was forced to shift his family to Hyderabad.

The SAI athletic coach Vinayak Prasad said that badminton in Vijayawada received a setback with Bhaskar migrating to Hyderabad. “SAI’s National Sports Talent Contest (NSTC) that produced several international shuttlers like Chetan Anand and Neelima Choudary was closed down following Bhaskar’s transfer. Vijayawada has lost the most talented coach (Bhaskar) in badminton to Hyderabad,” Vinayak said.

SAI gymnastic coach Rammohan said that the treatment meted out to Bhaskar Babu will dishearten the coaching fraternity. SAI basketball coach Rajendra Prasad said that no sport or game would prosper if coaches were not respected.

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