Newly appointed badminton coach, Ohiduzzaman Raju, informed yesterday that he will not be available to help conduct a training camp for the upcoming South Asian Games. In addition, shuttler Elina Sultana quit the camp on the grounds that the environment is unhealthy while the unwarranted talks about another recently appointed coach, Enayet Ullah Khan, was also a driving factor.
Elina and Shapla Akter, Bangladesh’s top two shuttlers, earlier decided to boycott the preparation camp, citing the appointment of low-quality coaches who had nothing to give them. The SA Games bronze medal winners then later affirmed their stance on not joining the camp until qualified coaches are appointed for the national badminton team.
For the women’s team, the Bangladesh Badminton Federation (BBF) appointed Level-2 coach Enayet and Level-1 coach Raju in place of Level-1 coaches Maruf Alam and Gautam Chandra, who were given charge of the men’s national team.
Coincidently, Raju and Enayet are the husbands of Shapla and Elina respectively.
“I 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 another reason he declined the coaching role.
“We did not want our husbands as coaches rather we sought qualified coaches. 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 the federation appointed the coaches. The environment in badminton is dirty. Few officials also are making bad comments on husband-wife relations. They are also making comments about me to make room for junior players by leaving badminton,” Elina told The Daily Star over the phone after leaving the camp yesterday.
Enayet yesterday trained only two shuttlers out of six after Elina left the Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmed Indoor Stadium. Shapla, along with two other shuttlers from Bangladesh Army, is expected to join the camp after Eid-ul-Adha.
When the husband-wife relation was pointed out, former national champion Enayet said, “I have been selected on the basis of my quality, not as the husband of Elina. It is a place of professionalism and there is no question of husband-wife. It is national duty for me and everyone is equal in my training camp.”
BBF general secretary AH Bahar also believes the marital aspect will not have any impact on training as both coaches were selected on the basis of experience and quality.
“We don’t see any problem with it [ being husband and wife]. Besides, a foreign coach is likely to take charges of the national team by the end of this month,” Bahar said. “There was grouping among the coaches and it happened because of two executive members. We will definitely look in to it afterwards.”