BHUBANESWAR: Still in its first year, the Odisha-SAI Regional Badminton Academy has courted controversy over a bitter wrangle between its first coach-cum-manager Romen Ghosh and Sports Authority of India (SAI)’s Regional Director at Kolkata, Manmeet Singh Goindi. Ghosh, an Arjuna Awardee, has shot off his resignation to Ministry of Youth Affairs and Department of Sports on March 27 citing “biased and vindictive attitude” of Goindi.
Accusing the Regional Director of SAI Netaji Subhas Eastern Centre (SAI-NSEC) of hindering the progress of the badminton academy, Ghosh stated in the letter that his services would not be available from April 1. The 76-year-old coach-cum-manager alleged that the SAI’s Kolkata region chief developed a negative attitude towards the Bhubaneswar academy right from the beginning because he did not support Goindi’s preference for academy at non-standard indoor halls.
“Thereafter, the NSEC never helped with matters ranging from finalisation of selection of trainees to setting up the academy in spite of several requests,” Ghosh’s letter to the Union Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said. The academy was inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on May 15 last year in presence of national coach and badminton legend Pullela Gopichand.
While the coach-cum-manager of the academy has charged Goindi with humiliating him in public, the SAI Regional Director laughs off Ghosh’s resignation calling it a stunt. “His one-year contract with SAI ended on February 13 itself. What kind of resignation is he talking about?” he told this paper on Thursday.
Goindi said the maximum age for a coach is 70 years and Ghosh is well past that mark. “SAI’s mandate is to appoint the coach and technical staff which we will fulfill because we are committed to development of the Bhubaneswar academy,” he added.
Even as Ghosh alleged that he was harassed for not following SAI norms which were not provided, Goindi says he came across several violations during his inspection on March 5.“Several inmates are yet to be admitted into schools for getting academic certificate which is a basic norm of SAI,” said the SAI NSEC chief.The Regional Director said he received complaints from parents of day boarders against the coach and physio. “Neither of them was present when inmates were practising during my visit. I am in favour an audit of the academy soon,” he said.
As Ghosh says he had many dreams for the nascent academy, Goindi says nobody is indispensable, not even him. “The Sports Authority of India runs with a set of principle necessary to develop sports and create the right environment,” he said. Meanwhile, Officer on Special Duty to Sports and Youth Services Department of Odisha Chanchal Rana said the Government will take all steps to ensure that badminton flourishes in the State. “We will wait for SAI to give us in writing about the appointment of coach,” he said.