Even as the State government has geared up to honour the medallists in the recently-held Delhi Commonwealth Games, Dronacharya S. M. Arif led a group of badminton players, officials, including former SAAP chairman P. R. Mohan, to offer prayers at the Lal Bahadur Stadium last Friday for the speedy recovery of Nani Prasad, SAAP badminton coach who is now struggling for survival in the ICU of a private hospital in Delhi. It was a truly humane gesture on part of Arif, who is synonymous with badminton coaching across India, to not just confine themselves in conveying the customary best wishes to the family members of Nani Prasad but also raise ‘funds' which could be handy for better treatment to the ailing coach.

It may be recalled here that Nani was admitted after severe respiratory complications when he was Delhi two months before the Commonwealth Games began to see that the Siri Fort Complex badminton venue is in place for the Games. Ironically, when India is dazzling on the badminton court in the Games thanks to brilliance of the likes of Saina Nehwal, doubles pair of Gutta Jwala and Ashwini Ponappa and Parupalli Kashyap, this gentleman official who is the most familiar face for badminton at any of the competition venues in the State for close to 30 years now, is unaware that his trainees are making wonders.

In fact, both chief national coach Gopi Chand and Saina Nehwal have already contributed Rs 50,000 each to the ailing coach immediately on arrival from Delhi after the Games.

In a touching gesture, P. R. Mohan and Venkat Reddy, coach at Nandi Pipes Badminton Academy in Kurnool, and Arif contributed Rs. 5,000 each to be handed over to the family members of Nani Prasad.

“It is not that this money will make a huge difference to Nani, with whom I have a very close personal relationship. But I am sincerely praying that the best wishes and prayers of all those who assembled here will see Nani come back to the city hale and healthy,” says a visibly emotional Arif, with tears rolling down. SAAP boxing coach Omkar Yadav and tennis coach P. N. Misra too felt that these are the gestures which are so important to remind that the coaches are not forgotten.

Thankfully, with A. K. Parida, Principal Secretary to State Government, is taking special interest to ensure that best medical treatment is given to Nani, who will be in the ICU for at least a few more weeks, by coordinating with the officials in Delhi.

V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

in Hyderabad

Nani has been admitted in hospital after severe respiratory complications before the CWG