It was Saina's decision to move to Bengaluru: PPBA

It was Saina's decision to move to Bengaluru: PPBA

During his stint with coach Vimal Kumar in Bengaluru, Saina Nehwal climbed to the No. 1 spot in the world.

Following Pullela Gopichand's accusation regarding the alleged role played by badminton legend Prakash Padukone and Vimal Kumar in Saina Nehwal's move from Hyderabad to Bengaluru, the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA) clarified its position, saying that they had no role in former World No. 1's decision to switch cities.

As part of the promotion for his upcoming book 'Dreams of a Billion: India and the Olympic Games', Gopichand took aim at Padukone and Vimal claiming that the two influenced Saina's decision. "May be Viren (Rasquinha) or Vimal or Prakash sir could have spoken to her. In fact, they encouraged her to leave Hyderabad. It's a mystery to me why Prakash sir has never said anything positive about me," he writes in the book. 

The PPBA issued a statement regarding the same on Monday, clarifying their position on the matter.

"PPBA did not have any role to play in Saina Nehwal's decision to train in PPBA. It was solely her decision," the release asserted.

"PPBA has been grooming players over the last 25 years and have always stood for supporting their interest in whatever way we can. We too have many players moving on from our Academy at various stages in their career. We have never believed in restricting their growth and that will continue to be the Academy's policy," read the statement.

Gopichand did admit that perhaps Saina felt that he was more focused on P V Sindhu, who was making giant strides at that time and that the rise of the young Hyderabad player probably played a major role in the senior star's decision to move.

Whatever the reason, her decision was vindicated when she climbed to the summit of the world rankings and produced great performances at the All England Championships and the World Championships. Something, the PPBA was quick to point out.

"The sporting careers at the highest level are relatively short. Therefore, it is up to each player to decide whatever is in his/her best interests and the make the most of the opportunities available to achieve their goals during their peak period.

"Vimal Kumar did help Saina in her slump period that saw her attain World No. 1 ranking, besides a silver at the All England Championships and World Championships," it further said.

"PPBA has utmost regard for Gopichand's contribution to Indian badminton as a player and as a coach. We have also acknowledged Gopichand's contributions to his wards' successful performances at the World level and have always maintained good relations with him."

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