HC allows shuttler Sawant to attend national camp

Mumbai: In a relief to shuttler Prajakta Sawant, who had accused national coach Pullela Gopichand of "mental harassment", the Bombay High Court has allowed the badminton player to attend the training camp at Gopichand`s academy in Hyderabad.

19-year-old Sawant, who has won seven international medals, had approached the High Court after she was refused entry to a national camp being conducted in Gopichand`s academy.

Sawant claimed in her petition that she was selected for the training camp which was to be held from October 4 to December 12. However, when she asked to change her doubles and mixed doubles partners, Gopichand refused and allegedly nursed a grudge against her, the petition claims.

"On August 22, Sawant informed through e-mail to Gopichand that she is not comfortable with the partners assigned to her. However, Gopichand made wild allegations against the petitioner that she was not serious about the game and raised doubts over her dedication towards badminton," the petition claims.

It further states that Gopichand informed Sawant later on telephone that she would not be allowed to join the camp till further notice.

Stating that Gopichand was trying to ruin her career, Sawant urged the court to direct the Sports Authority of India to order an inquiry against Gopichand.

After perusing the petition and considering the credentials of Sawant, who is ranked 48th in the world, a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice N M Jamdar permitted the shuttler to attend the camp.

The bench, however, clarified that her selection for the upcoming China Open Super Series, Hong Kong Open Series and the Macau Grand Prix Gold tournaments may be done objectively and based on her merit.