Prajakta Sawant, who was training at the national camp in Hyderabad from January 7 onwards, has joined SM Arif’s academy at the Lal Bahadur Stadium in the same city to practise with Jwala Gutta. DNA was the first to report on January 12 about her return to the Gopichand academy for the national camp.
Prajakta’s decision to abandon the camp on January 14 has apparently upset BAI officials. They claim she left without informing the camp observer or the camp in-charge. “This is not the first instance when she has left without taking BAI’s permission. She has done it for the third time,” said a BAI official.
When contacted, Sawant said, “I asked for permission which wasn’t granted to me. I sent a mail to the BAI and the Gopichand Academy but never received any reply. I wanted to get it (permission) in writing, otherwise they would have said I ran away from the camp.”
She added, “I want to play badminton but I am mentally upset as they are not sending Jwala’s and my doubles’ entry for the German Open and the All England Open badminton championships.”
However, a BAI official contested her claim. “Every time Sawant left the camp, she used to send a mail on a Sunday night at around 10.30pm. And at around 10 am the next day, she would leave the camp without our consent. That used to be the pattern. How can she expect the BAI president to send a reply by 10am on Monday? asked the official. “She is only trying to make an issue out of this. Also, on one of the previous occasions, she left from the back door without even signing the register at the security.”
Another official added, “Selection for the Indian team is not necessarily based on training at the national camp. Ajay Jayaram and Sayali Gokhale, to name just a few, train at their respective academies and still get picked for international tournaments. If she (Prajakta) did not want to stay at the national camp, she need not have gone to the Gopichand Academy in the first place. Instead, she could have headed straight to Arif’s academy. Why make these unnecessary allegations?”
The official insisted that both Prajakta and Jwala will be considered for the German Open and All England tourney, contrary to the Mumbaikar’s belief. “The last date for sending the names for these two tournaments is January 29, and BAI has not denied them the entry,” he said.