National coach Pullela Gopichand, who played a key role in India’s two Olympic medals, has decided not to travel with India’s Olympic badminton team to Tokyo to make room for Indonesian Agus Dwi Santosa, who is coaching singles player B Sai Praneeth. Under Gopichand’s guidance, Saina Nehwal won bronze in 2012 London Olympics and PV Sindhu won silver at Rio Olympics 2016.
Denmark’s Mathias Bo has been entrusted with preparing the doubles pairing of Chirag and Satwik for their first Olympics. These four badminton players will present the Indian challenge in Tokyo. Ajay Singhania, general secretary of Badminton Association of India (BAI), said, “We had only one quota available, Gopichand decided to withdraw so that Santosa could go with the team which has been coaching Sai (Praneeth) since the time of the pandemic. Huh.’
It is natural that players will give priority to their respective coach during matches. After Gopichand’s exit, the Indian badminton contingent has been reduced to nine members, including three foreign coaches. These include two physios Sumansh Shivalanka and Evangeline Baddam (women) and four players.