Shuttler takes coach Gopichand to court, says he’s biased, will ruin her career

FP

Prajakta Sawant, the 20-year-old badminton player who has won seven international medals, moved Bombay High Court on Tuesday, accusing the Badminton Association of India's (BAI's) chief coach Pullela Gopichand of "mental harassment" after she was denied entry to the national coaching camp at Gopichand's academy in Hyderabad.

Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice N M Jamdar allowed her to attend the camp, and directed Sports Authority of India (SAI) to ensure that selection for three upcoming international tournaments this month is based on merit.

Sawant, a B.Com first year student who is ranked 48 in the world in women's doubles, said in her petition that Gopichand had told her she could not come to the academy after she asked for a different set of doubles and mixed doubles training partners for the October 4 to December 12 camp.

"On August 22, 2012, the petitioner (Sawant) had informed by email to Respondent No. 1 (Gopichand) that the petitioner is not comfortable playing with the mixed doubles and women's doubles partners. However, Respondent No. 1 made wild allegations against the petitioner that she was not serious about badminton," the petition said.

Sawant said Gopichand had told her by phone that she would not be allowed to join the camp until further notice, and an inquiry by a disciplinary committee. Her lawyer Piyush Shah said the young shuttler did not know why she would have to face an inquiry.

Gopichand is in Bahrain, and was not available for a comment. BAI general secretary Vijay Sinha said he was not aware of Sawant's petition.

Sawant accused Gopichand of ruining several careers, and urged the court to order an inquiry against him and restrain him from sending teams for the China Open Super Series on November 13, Hong Kong Open Super Series on November 20 and Macau Grand Prix Gold on November 27.

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