With less than a year for World Champion PV Sindhu to participate in the 2022 Tokyo Olympics, the badminton star faces a huge setback as South Korea’s Kim Ji Hyun stepped down from her position as India’s women’s singles badminton coach to attend to her ailing husband in New Zealand.
Kim played a crucial role in guiding Sindhu to the World Championships gold in Basel, Switzerland last month.
She was roped in by the Badminton Association of India (BAI) early this year, however, the 45-year-old had to rush to New Zealand to attend her husband Ritchie Marr, who suffered a neuro stroke about a fortnight ago.
“It is true, Kim has resigned as her husband is pretty unwell. He suffered a kind of neuro stroke sometime during the World Championship. So she rushed back. She needs to take care of him as it will take around 4 to 6 months for him to recover,” India’s chief national coach Pullela Gopichand told PTI.
Sindhu has time and again acknowledged Kim’s contribution to her success as she had built a good rapport with the player in a few months of training.
Interestingly, the Korean is India’s third foreign coach to have resigned without completing the tenure.
Earlier, renowned Indonesian coach Mulyo Handoyo had resigned abruptly in late 2017 from the Indian national badminton team citing personal reasons.
The man who guided the men’s singles shuttlers to progress in the world stage later joined the Singapore squad.
Malaysia’s Tan Kim Her had also stepped down as Indias doubles coach early this year, 18 months before his tenure was to end at the Tokyo Olympics.
Badminton Association of India (BAI) will now have to quickly find a replacement for Kim, given that the Olympics qualification is currently on and the Tokyo Games is just 10 months away.
“We are trying to get someone to fill in her boots. But it will be again a stop-gap arrangement. We need to find a permanent solution,” Gopichand said.
(With inputs from agencies)