Badminton selectors are passive: Padukone

Prakash Padukone has asked for strengthening of badminton's selection committee in order to resolve the controversy that has broken out in the sport after the Bombay High Court directed that Badminton Association of India look into the issue of the chief national coach P Gopichand also running a private academy while having a say in selections.

Padukone insisted that the solution was not to be found in asking Gopichand to step down, but rather in lending the committee a stronger and definitive say in matters of selection. The matter has cascaded into a controversy after Mumbai doubles player Prajakta Sawant alleged bias in selection, after a fall-out with coach Gopichand.

'Gopi should continue'

"Ethically, legally and technically it would seem as inappropriate that the national coach also run a private academy, which is why the court has passed that order. But a very big consideration has to made for the fact that Gopi has given very good results as a coach. He's a competent coach and his academy offers facilities that have benefitted a large number of shuttlers. If you ask him to step down and resolve this conflict of interest, Indian badminton will suffer. So it's in the best interest of India that he continues as coach. However, the BAI needs to look at a selection panel which will rule out even a doubt of bias," Padukone stated.

He called for the Badminton Association of India to be far more proactive and ensure transparency. "We need a strong, active committee which is not only on paper. They should meet often and selections should be a collective responsibility, so that the blame isn't laid on one person," he advised.

Padukone believed that the present-form of the committee could be termed "passive" as they didn't meet often enough, which meant selections were vulnerable to allegations, though preferences might or might not have been intentional. "Best to have a strong, active committee of ex-players or those who are involved in sport, so that there's transparency."

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