The training camp of badminton for the 13th South Asian Games was thrown into turmoil after country’s two top female shuttlers Shapla Akhter and Elina Sultana refused to train under federation appointed coaches Maruf Alam and Gautam Chandra Paul.
The two coaches subsequently had to be replaced by the respective husbands of the players, with one unwilling to accept the job on Monday following husband-wife jibe.
Shapla and Elina on July 31 demanded experienced coaches for their training, submitting a letter to the Bangladesh Badminton Federation president Abdul Malek.
Country’s top two and SA Games bronze-medallists shuttlers Shapla and Elina boycotted the preparation camp citing the appointment of low-quality coaches and threatened not to join the SA Games camp until the qualified coaches were appointed.
After their demand the federation on Sunday appointed Level-2 coach Enayetullah Khan and Level-1 coach Ohiduzzaman Raju in place of Level-1 coaches Maruf Alam and Gautam Chandra.
Maruf and Gautam have now been given the charge of men’s national team.
Newly-appointed female team coach Raju is the husband of Shapla and Enayetullah is the husband of Elina.
A day after the appointment of new coaches, Raju on Monday submitted an exemption letter to federation secretary Amir Hossain Bahar, claiming that he would remain busy for the next five months and requested to exempt him from this assignment.
‘I have requested the federation to release me from my duty because I don’t have time to coach the national team,’ said Raju, who hinted that unnecessary talks regarding him and his wife Shalpa was also one reason for him to decline the job.
‘Actually, there are some people in the federation, who are criticising that I got the appointment as her husband. It’s insulting for me. I am a coach and a former national player. I have dignity. She [Shapla] will do better by training under any good coach,’ Raju told New Age.
Shapla said she was hurt by the criticism of the move.
‘We [Shapla and Elina] demanded experienced coaches to federation and they [Raju and Enayetullah] got their places as skilled coaches not as our husbands. But now there is criticism of nepotism in federation and in media. So Raju decided to quit from coaching and I have no problems with it. I need a good coach only.’
Elina echoed her fellow shuttler.
‘We did not want our husbands as coaches rather we sought qualified coaches to appoint,’ she said. ‘A few federation officials and a quarter of media are not considering the
qualification of newly appointed coaches. They are finding the relation with us. It is not fair because federation appointed the coaches.
‘The environment in badminton is dirty. Few officials also are making bad comments on husband-wife relation. They are also making comments toward me to make the room for junior players,’ she said.
Enayetullah took over the charge immediately but had only two players to train on the first day of the job. Elina did not train under her husband.
BBF general secretary Amir Hossain Bahar said grouping between the coaches was responsible for the entire episode.
‘There have been grouping among the coaches and it happened because of two executive members. We will definitely look it after,’ he said, without naming any federation members.
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