PANAJI: Indian badminton legend and experienced coach Pullela Gopichand has opted out of the 9-member badminton contingent for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, informed a press release by the Badminton Association of India (BAI).
“With just one quota available, Gopichand decided to opt-out in order to ensure Agus Dwi Santosa could be accommodated who has been training with Sai [Praneeth] since the pandemic,” said BAI General Secretary Ajay Singhania.
The nine-member team consists of three coaches and two physios alongside four qualified shuttlers.
Earlier, BAI had proposed a 7-member coaching and support staff to be sent along with the players. However, with strict COVID-19 protocols and an allotted quota of 33% of support staff alone for the number of qualified players, only a 5-member team of coaches and support staff have been allotted to travel with the badminton contingent.
While each of the qualified players had their individual team of trainers and physios as part of their preparations, the approved contingent list comprise of singles coach Park Tae-Sang and Agus Dwi Santosa along with doubles coach Mathias Boe and physios Evangline Baddam and Sumansh Sivalanka to accompany the Indian players, PV Sindhu, B Sai Praneeth and men’s doubles duo of Chirag Shetty and Satwik Rankireddy.
With Saina Nehwal and Sindhu winning Olympics medals in 2012 and 2016 consecutively, the Indian team will look to complete a hat-trick of medals at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, stated the press communique.