Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal, who has been training under Vimal Kumar for the last one week, wants the former chief coach to travel to Incheon, Korea with her for the upcoming Asian Games.
"Saina has requested BAI to include Vimal Kumar in the list of coaches who would be travelling to Korea for the Asian Games. We have requested the authorities and are awaiting their decision," said a senior BAI official.
"Initially, three coaches -- Pullela Gopichand, Madhumita Bisht and Vijaydeep Singh -- were supposed to go but now we have included Vimal's name and dropped one sports analyst from the list. An additional coach will help when simultaneous matches of Indian players are held on adjacent courts," he added.
Battling with poor form, Saina had decided to train under former chief coach Vimal Kumar to prepare for the prestigious Asian Games after returning from the World Championship in Copenhagen, Denmark where she lost in the quarterfinals.
Star doubles shuttler Jwala Gutta, who won the gold and silver in the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games respectively, has also pulled out due to a right knee sprain.
Asked if there will be a replacement, the BAI official said: "No there won't be any replacement as chief coach said he will manage with 15 athletes. There is Ashwini Ponnappa and Pradnya Gadre, besides PV Sindhu too has played doubles when needed in team events."
With the government drastically pruning down the Asian Games-bound Indian contingent to 679 members, including 516 athletes, the axe has fallen on four of the Indian shuttlers, namely Aparna Balan, Rituparna Das, Tarun Kona and Arun Vishnu.