New Delhi: The Sports Minister M S Gill on Tuesday found himself in a fresh controversy after he snubbed top grappler Sushil Kumar’s coach Satpal Singh by asking him to step aside during a photo opportunity at his residence here.
The incident took place when World Championship gold medal winner Sushil, along with his personal trainer Satpal and national team coach Yashvir, visited Gill’s official residence to meet him after becoming the first world champion Indian wrestler in Moscow on Sunday.
After congratulating Sushil and seeing his medal, the duo went for the photo opportunity and Gill started looking for the coach to stand beside them.
When Satpal, who was conferred the Dronacharya award last year, appeared on the scene, Gill told him to step aside and instead called Yashvir, who accompanied the Indian team during the event in Moscow.
“I want the coach who went to Moscow with him,” Gill said before Yashvir stood beside Sushil for the session.
Gill, however, later also requested Satpal to join them.
The shabby treatment to Satpal did not go down well with Sushil who said the incident was unfortunate.
“He is my Guru and there are around 100 wrestlers who take lessons from him. If Guru is not respected then it is natural for a disciple to feel bad. What happened was not correct,” he said.
“He is a good trainer, I have a lot of respect for him. He has trained me since childhood,” Sushil said.
Asked for his reaction on the incident, Gill said “I don’t have to answer”.
But Satpal, a gold medallist of 1982 Asian Games, chose to play down the incident.
“I did not like it. But this is a happy occasion, so let’s talk about Sushil’s achievement,” Satpal said later.
A more or less similar incident had happened when ace shuttler Saina Nehwal had visited the Sports Minister after her return from the Beijing Olympics in August 2008.
At that time, Gill had asked Saina’s coach Pullela Gopichand his identity. Gopichand, a player of repute himself and a winner of many awards, had to face the embarassment of introducing himself.