New Delhi: According to a report in DNA, badminton stars Ashwini Ponnappa and Jwala Gutta will write a letter to PM Narendra Modi over their exclusion from the government-funded Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) by the sports ministry.
“We will be writing to PM Narendra Modi regarding their apathy to urge him to intervene as it has only been because of one person, Pullela Gopichand, that despite being top-ranked in India for so many years, we have been kept out of TOPS at a time when everyone is expecting us to win a medal at Rio Games.
Both Jwala and I have been subjected to step-motherly treatment. We have no access to specialized physiotherapist, mental trainer, sports psychologist and, despite this, we are performing so well. Lack of government funding is hurting our Rio chances. It looks like they don’t think that we can do that (win a medal at Rio).
"We won the Canada Open and Commonwealth Games medal and are currently World No. 10 in doubles rankings. The ministry’s little support through National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) is not enough for our Rio preparation. We need a scheme like TOPS to win a medal at the Rio,” Ponnappa told DNA.
Interestingly, five players that will receive benefits under the TOPS are from Hyderabad-based Gopichand badminton academy
The Jwala-Ashwini was asked by the Ministry to enlist their achievements in a presentation.
“There’s definitely a serious conflict of interest. He is the chief coach who is also running his own academy from where majority of players are getting selected. What are his priorities: coaching the academy players or discharging his duties as national coach?," she further added.