India’s national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand was among the noticeable ommissions from the list for the All India Council of Sports (AICS) that was announced by the Sports Ministry. Gopichand revealed that he had informed the ministry about four months back that he wouldn’t be able to attend the meetings as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics draws closer.
“I had told them that this is the Olympic year and so it’s not possible for me to attend meetings. This was about four months back,” Gopichand told IANS on Tuesday.
Former Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia, cricket great Sachin Tendulkar and former chess World Champion Viswanathan Anand are the other notable individuals who were omitted from the committee as the number of members was pruned to 18 from the original 27.
An advisory committee, the AICS was formed in December 2015 during Sarbananda Sonowal’s tenure as Sports Minister.
Among new names included are cricketers Harbhajan Singh and Krishnamachari Srikanth alongwith Limba Ram (archery), PT Usha (athletics), Bachendri Pal (mountaineering), Deepa Malik (para-athlete), Anjali Bhagwat (shooting), Renedy Singh (football) and Yogeshwar Dutt (wrestling).
Gopichand has a lot on his plate which is to take care of all the top players before the Olympics. He had insisted that training and competing cannot be separated.
“Everything is related including resting or recovery phase as they say. There is an imperative need for a calendar which should monitor the athlete to make him or her perfectly fit for the big events,” he told Sportstar.
“My role is only suggestive. I cannot impose myself in the given structure and format. Nothing has changed, honestly. Sometimes out of respect, some players might listen and again, my advice is not binding,” he explained.