Mumbai: While we don’t know exactly when the feud between two top Indian badminton women’s doubles stars Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa and their coach Pullela Gopichand will come to an end, the fact that the India Sports Ministry has decided to include the shuttlers in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) could probably bring a temporary halt to their conflicts.
The TOPS was launched by the Indian government to fund potential medal-winners at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Shuttlers such as London Olympics bronze-medalist Saina Nehwal, P V Sindhu, P Kashyap, K Srikanth, Guru Saidutt and H S Prannoy have been included into the program, of course, except Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa.
Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa had voiced their unhappiness towards Pullela Gopichand and India Sport Ministry for ignoring them for the TOPS last month. The pair believed they have done their country proud many times over the years, and they should be qualify for a place in the TOPS.
Badminton fans could watch Pullela Gopichand, and Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa gave their side of the story in the video below.
Fortunately, the Indian Sports Ministry have put a positive spin on their disputes, by confirming that the top Indian women’s doubles pair will be included in the next list of TOP athletes on Friday.
“Since we have approved a doubles coach for the badminton players, we’ve decided to include the top badminton players in the TOPS. And as there is no better pair than Jwala and Ashwini, they will soon enter the set of TOP players for Olympics,” according to an official from the Indian Sports Ministry.