World Champion P V Sindhu is in London to prepare for next year's Asia leg of the Badminton World Federation's calendar as "her practice was not happening properly" at the ongoing national camp in Hyderabad, the shuttler's father PV Ramana has said.
"Her practice was not happening properly here. After the 2018 Asian Games, Gopi (chief coach Pullela Gopichand) didn't take interest in her training. He didn't provide a proper practice partner to train with her. She was not having enough quality practice and was fed up with the treatment," PV Ramana told PTI.
The Olympic silver-medallist has been in London for the last 10 days and posted a picture with sports nutritionist Rebecca Randell of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI), her training base, on her social media page on Monday.
"She has been in London for the last 10 days. We can't stay with her for two months, so she went alone," Ramana said.
A source close to Sindhu told TNM that there are differences between PV Sindhu and Gopichand. "There is a lack of unity at Gopi's academy. The lack of unity among coaches is affecting the future of players. This is very unfortunate," said the source. The source also added that Sindhu was working with a different coach at the academy and not with Gopichand.
“Nobody is getting selected to the super series. After Sindhu and Saina no one is getting through to the super series. Krishna Priya is the only exception. There is a lack of unity in the camp, moreover there is a feeling that Gopi is only training one student in the camp,” the source added.
In Hyderabad, Sindhu practices at the SAI Gopichand Academy and another academy in Kompally for fitness since 2017.
When contacted, Gopichand confirmed that Sindhu had informed him about her move to London but refused to respond to Ramana's remarks. "She has gone for the Gatorade training academy, that is the information we have. They have a training institute there. I don't know the exact details or duration of the program," he said.
"I don't want to respond to what her father has to say, if Sindhu says something, I will respond," he added.
Ramana said Sindhu had informed the Badminton Association of India (BAI) regarding her trip to London and had also kept Gopichand in the loop.
"She had sent a letter to BAI last week about her trip, with a copy to Gopi...and since she will be there for at least eight weeks, she will be practicing with the England team. So, she requested BAI to put in a word to Badminton England," Ramana said.
Rift with family denied
A report in the Times of India quoted a source close to Sindhu saying that there was rift in the family and at this stage in her life, she did not want to be controlled and that efforts were on to bring her back to India.
Sindhu took to social media to refute reports of a family rift leading to her departure from Hyderabad.
"I came to London a few days back to work on my nutrition and recovery needs with GSSI.In Fact I have come here with the consent of my parents and absolutely there were no family rifts in this regard. Why will I have problems/issues with my parents who have sacrificed their lives for my sake. Mine is a very close knitted family and they will always support me. I am in touch with my family," she said.
She also denied that there was an underlying issue with her coach and former badminton player Pullela Gopichand. "I do not have any issues with my coach Mr Gopichand or the training facilities at the academy," she added.
The source insisted to TNM that the rift was with Gopichand and not with the family.
Sindhu has been part of the national camp for Olympic hopefuls and was training with her Korean coach Park Tae Sang ever since Kim Ji Hyun resigned last year.
She skipped the recently-concluded Denmark Open Super 750 tournament and will next be seen in action at the Asian leg of the adjusted BWF World Tour 2020 in January.
The Hyderabad-based shuttler will not get a direct entry in the rescheduled World Tour Final as the BWF has decided against handing automatic invitations to current world champions in the season-ending tournament.
Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BWF has been forced to move the World Tour Finals (Jan 27-31) and the two Asia Opens (Jan 12-17 and Jan 19-24) to Bangkok in January next year.
With PTI inputs