Junior shuttler Jakka Vaishnavi Reddy's kin make strong allegations against Pullela Gopichand, threaten legal action
What's the story?
Indian shuttler Jakka Vaishnavi Reddy and her family are reportedly unhappy about her being selected for the doubles category of the World Junior Championships, scheduled for next month. Reddy had even requested the Badminton Authority of India to withdraw her entry.
Her grouse with the BAI was that she is a singles player and she was upset that she was paired with fellow singles player Malvika Bansod for a doubles event. Even her family slammed the decision and her grandmother penned a letter to the BAI, the Prime Minister, the Sports Minister and other higher authorities.
She also alleged that there was a conflict of interest issue against national coach Pullela Gopichand. She believed that there was favouritism towards Pullela's daughter Gayatri as she had been selected for the Under-19 singles, where she is unranked. On the other hand, Reddy is ranked number 12 in the junior world rankings.
"My granddaughter has been selected for doubles, paired with a singles player namely Malvika Bansod, which is gross injustice. Putting two singles players in doubles category also destroys two deserving doubles players of their opportunities,” wrote Mrs. Reddy.
In case you didn't know
Reddy's grandmother usually accompanies her for international tournaments. The shuttler is the second-highest ranking player from India and is also the youngest to hold that position.
The heart of the matter
Vaishnavi and Gayatri are former doubles partners and they used to train at the Gopichand Academy. Reddy accused the Sports Authority of India of 'ganging up' on Vaishnavi and said that their coaches refused to help her in her match preparation in an international tournament in Jakarta earlier as she was not from the Gopichand Academy.
Reddy was angry about the fact that the second highest ranked singles player in the junior category was being made to play in a doubles category. She also stated that she will initiate legal proceedings in the Supreme Court on her return to India.
It remains to be seen whether the BAI will accept the request and shift Reddy to the singles category. The threat of legal proceedings is also a massive one, which could have huge implications on future selection proceedings.
While the BAI has full authority to make the selections, it is slightly strange that they would select two singles players to play in the doubles category.