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Tokyo 2020

Why are coaches like Gopichand and Jaspal Rana not going to the Tokyo Olympics?

While many of the top sportspersons from the country have already made their way to Tokyo Olympics, quite a few top coaches have missed the bus. Why?

Coach Pullela Gopichand and Jaspal Rana
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Coach Pullela Gopichand and Jaspal Rana 

By

Abhijit Nair

Updated: 2021-07-23T10:13:19+05:30

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics is less than twenty-four hours away. In fact, a couple of events have already started, while the opening ceremony of the Games is scheduled to take place at 4:30 pm IST tomorrow, i.e, 23rd July 2021.

Athletes from all across the globe have started flocking to Tokyo for the Olympics, and the Indian athletes, too, have reached the Games village.

A total of 127 Indian (including all the reserves) athletes have qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. This is the country's largest-ever contingent for the Olympics, surpassing the tally from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. India will be led by the legendary pugilist Mary Kom and men's hockey skipper Manpreet Singh as flag-bearers in the opening ceremony.

While many of the top sportspersons from the country have already made their way to Tokyo Olympics, quite a few top coaches have missed the bus. Why?

Yes, some of the top coaches in the country like Pullela Gopichand (badminton), Jaspal Rana (shooting) and others would not be seen in Tokyo during the Olympics.

This is mainly due to the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) decision of slashing the number of officials, who can travel to the Olympics with the players, in order to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

A lot of frictions were caused due to this in the Indian sporting fraternity with the personal coaches of some athletes making the cut to the official contingent, while coaches of others failed to do so.

The chief national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand pulled out of the Indian contingent for the Olympics in order to accommodate Agus Dwi Santosa - the Indonesian coach of India's only men's single-player at the Tokyo Olympics Sai Praneeth.

Shooting coach Jaspal Rana
Shooting coach Jaspal Rana

Jaspal Rana, on the other hand, will not be travelling to Tokyo for the Olympics due to 'logistical reasons'. A pistol ace during his playing days Rana had played a very big part in the emergence of the Indian pistol shooters as a force at the highest level, but he has not been training a single Olympic-bound Indian shooter for long leading to his omission from the contingent for the quadrennial event.

Moreover, personal coaches of star athletes like Mary Kom and Manika Batra have their name in the Indian contingent for the Tokyo Olympics, while the respective federations and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) did not give permission to the personal coaches of Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Amit Panghal to travel to Tokyo.

Furthermore, even the mother of the first-ever fencer from India to qualify for the Olympics, Bhavani Devi, is expected to travel to Tokyo.

All this had culminated in to an ugly scene where the coach of table tennis star Sathiyan, expressing his disappointment openly through his personal twitter account.

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