Gopichand who? asks sports minister

August 19th, 2008 - 10:21 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 19 (IANS) Indian sportspersons, other than cricketers, may be crying for recognition, and not without reason. Even the country’s Sports Minister M.S. Gill Tuesday failed to recognise former All England champion shuttler and current national coach Pullela Gopichand. The unbelievable happened when Gopichand and his ward Saina Nehwal - back from the Beijing Olympics - went to pay a courtesy visit to the sports minister. While Gill greeted Saina heartily, he failed to recognise Gopichand when the latter shook hands with him.

“Who are you?” the minister asked Gopichand, leaving all those present dumbstruck and quite embarassed.

Gopichand, however, took the ministerial lapse sportingly, and introduced himself as the national coach.

Asked about the incident by mediapersons, he said: “It’s ok. I didn’t feel bad.”

Gopichand is one of the only two Indians to have ever won the All England Open Championship. While Gopichand triumphed in 2001, Prakash Padukone clinched the title in 1980.

Gill had invited Saina to his office after her return from the Beijing Olympics, where she reached the quarterfinals of the women’s singles badminton competition.

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