On the courts, Indian badminton is enjoying one of it’s great phases. With two Indians in the top 15 in both men’s and women’s singles, things are looking bright indeed. But off court, trouble seems to be brewing.

Earlier this month, the Badminton Association of India’s Executive Committee spent over five hours discussing the conflict of interest issues of coaches and court officials, giving an impression that they were serious about curtailing the menace.

But that seems to be nothing more than lip service if one takes a look at the two selection committees and the panel of coaches announced by the apex body on Thursday. For reasons best known to BAI, almost all the members of the selection panel are named in the coach’s panel.

Junior selectors Jwala Gutta, Akshay Dewalkar, Aravind Bhat, Vimal Kumar and Uday Pawar are all part of the senior coaches panel. Manjusha Kanwar, who is named in the senior selection panel, has been named in the junior coaching panel. Also it is difficult to understand why Vimal Kumar has been named in both the junior and senior selection panels.

There is no reason to question the integrity of the names mentioned above. But if BAI was so keen to weed out the conflict of interest issue by even trying to bring in a constitutional amendment that would bar coaches from taking up any other role in the association, it is difficult to understand the logic behind naming the same people in the two panels.

In fact, one of the proposed amendments suggested that the selectors should not be running a private academy. So what exactly changed within a few days?

BAI cannot hide behind the argument that none of the names in the selection panel are coaching that particular group and these are the best names available and all of them also expressed their wish to contribute as coaches as well.

A cursory glance at the list of coaches raises quite a few questions. BAI has named 36 coaches for the seniors, 31 for juniors and four advisors.

“The idea was to give these coaches and former players an opportunity to train shuttlers in their zone. These are coaches who have shown interest when we had organised the conclave in May,” BAI secretary Anup Narang was quoted as saying by PTI.

“We will have half yearly meetings and if they are able to deliver and show results in a couple of years then those shuttlers would be included in the national camp,” he added.

The argument is in itself flawed since mere interest cannot be a criteria enough to name someone in the national panel. The question here is how many of these coaches have the required certification and know-how to train upcoming shuttlers. Do they have the required experience?

It would be interesting to see how many of them will leave their lucrative coaching centres and spend time in the national camps or even at the regional centres, which haven’t even been identified yet.

Coaches Panel for Seniors:

Men’s Singles: P Gopichand (Chief National Coach), Siddhart Jain, Amrish Shinde, Utsav Mishra, Abhijit Nammapally, Anil Kumar, Sachin Rana, Hersen, Surender Mahajan, Chetan Anand, U Vimal Kumar, Umender Rana, Dipankar Bhattacharjee, Ravinder Singh, Arvind Bhatt, Anup Sridhar, Shrikant Bakshi, George Thomas, Marcos Bristow and Mitesh Hazarnis.

Men’s doubles: Uday Pawar, Vijaydeep Singh, Ajay Kanwar, Arun Vishnu, Suranjan Bhobora, Anand Khare, Akshay Dewalkar, Sanave Thomas, Rupesh Kumar, Manoj Kumar, Surinder Kumar, Virender Kumar.

Women’s doubles: Jwala Gutta, Madhumita Bisht, Pradnya Gadre, Oli Deka

Coaches Panel for Juniors:

Men’s singles: Sanjay Mishra (Chief National Coach), Nikhil Kanetkar, Anshuman Hazarika, Bahiman Borah, Venkatesh, Tanveer Gill, BN Sudhakar, Sudhir Singh, CH Kiran, Kiran Makode, Jibi Verghese, Antony Jacob, Shibu Gopidas, Govardhan Reddy, G Sudhakar Reddy, D K Sen, Prem Lal, Neeraj Kumar, JBS Vidyadhar, Abhin Shyam Gupta, Sagar Chopra.

Women’s singles: Trupti Murugunde, Hufrish Nariman, Deepthi, Sayali Gokhale, Manjusha Kanwar, Ankur Chandoka, Nancy Tandon, Sarada Reddy, Neelima Choudhury, Poonam Tewari.

Advisors: S M Arif, Sanjeev Sachdeva, Roshan Lal Nahar, Ganguli Prasad.

Selection Panel

Senior: President/Senior vice president BAI (Chairman), P Gopichand (Chief National Coach), Vimal Kumar, Partho Ganguly, Mallika Baruh Sarma, SM Arif, Manjusha Kanwar, Aparna Popat (Govt. Nominee), Anup Narang (BAI gen sec/convenor), one Special Invitee

Junior: President/Senior vice president BAI (Chairman), Sanjay Mishra (Junior chief coach), Uday Pawar, Vimal Kumar, Jwala Gutta, Aravind Bhat, Akshay Dewalkar, Aparna Popat (Govt. Nominee), Anup Narang (BAI gen sec/convenor), one Special Invitee