Sawant case: Saina defends coach Gopi

Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal stood by her coach Pullela Gopichand, who has been accused of “mental harassment” by doubles specialist Prajakta Sawant in a petition filed in the Bombay High Court.

“Look at me. I am standing here today as World No 3. I would like to thank Gopi sir for where I am today. I don’t know from where all these things are coming out and I really don’t know what it is about,” Saina, who was initially reluctant to answer the question priovided her response on the issue.

Saina was speaking at a function to announce the launch of her autobiography that will soon hit the stands. Sawant had moved to Bombay High Court on Monday accusing the chief national coach of “mental harassment” after she was denied entry into the national coaching camp at Gopichand’s academy in Hyderabad.

In a relief to shuttler Prajakta, the High Court allowed the player to attend the camp.

Sawant claimed in her petition that she was selected for the training camp which was to be held from October 4 to December 12. However, when she asked to change her doubles and mixed doubles partners, Gopichand refused and allegedly nursed a grudge against her, the petition claims.

“On August 22, Sawant informed through e-mail to Gopichand that she is not comfortable with the partners assigned to her. However, Gopichand made wild allegations against the petitioner that she was not serious about the game and raised doubts over her dedication towards badminton,” the petition claims.

It further states that Gopichand informed Sawant later on telephone that she would not be allowed to join the camp till further notice.

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