Gopichand urges Andhra chief minister not to take back academy land

September 20th, 2008 - 7:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Sep 20 (IANS) With the Andhra Pradesh government deciding to take back three out of five acres of land allotted to Pullela Gopichand for his badminton academy here, the badminton ace Saturday met Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy and urged him to drop the move.Gopichand apprised the chief minister that he needed the entire five-acre land in Gachibowli for building a world-class academy and said the government should not take back three acres of land. The player later told newsmen that the chief minister responded positively.

Gopichand briefed the chief minister about his plans. He said he was still trying to rope in corporates for the Rs.200 million/Rs.20 crores project and hence only half of the land could be utilised. He pointed out that the main building with eight courts was already operational and a national camp was also underway.

The state government in 2003 had alloted five acres of land on lease to Gopichand in Gachibowli to set up an international badminton academy. The academy is surrounded by campuses of several IT majors.

The officials decided to take back the prime land worth Rs.500 million as Gopichand utilised only half of the alloted land. They said the government also plan to start a sports college of its own to train players for the London Olympics of 2012.

The former All England badminton champion, however, argued that the project was yet to be completed and he required the entire land allotted for the purpose.

He clarified that cross training in other sports and swimming were integral part of coaching and denied that he was building a tennis court.

His clarification came after state government officials complained that he was planning to build a play area for children, a tennis court and a swimming pool, which were not critical to the academy.

Gopichand informed the chief minister the academy trained several national players for the Commonwealth Games and the World Badminton Academy also picked it to train coaches in June 2009.

Saina Nehwal, trained by Gopichand, gave an impressive performance in the Beijing Olympics and this week won Chinese Taipei Grand Prix Gold Open.

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