If you thought that you had seen it all after the dramatic resignation of #DavidCameron (who of course had vehemently opposed the move) last year following a reversal in the nationwide #Referendum on Brexit, think again. In snap polls dubbed as the ‘Brexit Elections’ called for by the newly appointed Prime Minister #TheresaMay the ruling #ConservativeParty suffered terrible losses. So much so that the beleaguered Labour Party has been given a new lease of life and more worryingly the Conservatives are no longer a majority in the #Parliament left with 318 out of 650 total seats. That is a climbdown of 12 vital seats and it is no wonder then that the move is being dubbed as a self goal. In this melee the #LabourParty has made a neat gain of 29 seats riding on the back of their charismatic albeit controversial leader #JeremyCorbyn. Experts are still divided on what impact the General election results will have on the whole #Brexit affair but on one thing they will all agree. This ruling party is completely out of sync with the aspirations of the average British citizen.
#12 years after the #SecondWorldWar ended a group of European countries established what was the European Union in it’s earliest avatar. The premise was simple enough – countries doing trade together were less likely to go to war with each other. Interestingly #Britain was not even part of this original group and it entered into the fray only in the 1970s. In subsequent years Britain and the Union fought on everything ranging from immigration policies to #EU regulations and beef exports to even chocolates (the British had to fight a sustained battle to be allowed to sell home made chocolates in the rest of Europe) and suffice it to say that it was an uneasy relationship that has seen many more downs than ups. The first indication that the United Kingdom might actually exit the EU came as early as the 80s when #MargaretThatcher was the PM. She was however able to save the day by renegotiating many terms with the EU yet undeniably the first seeds had been sown.
The birth of the United Kingdom Independence Party (#UKIP) around the same time was no mere coincidence. In the #2014 European elections, UKIP won 27% of the votes setting the tone for things to follow. The then PM David Cameron under increasing pressure from people within his party and outside announced that if the #Tories won in 2015 there would be a referendum at the end of 2017. Cameron was in favor of negotiating terms and staying in the EU but clearly he could not gauge public sentiment. As global terrorism, economic slowdown and immigration woes all hit Europe together #Nationalism has taken centre stage. So it was expected that calling for a snap election promising a #HardBrexit would do the trick or at least Mrs May thought it would. Instead what UK is staring at is a hung Parliament for which the reasons are not difficult to see. The Conservatives never really mentioned how those in power hoped to tide over what is likely to be a messy divorce. After all exiting the world’s largest free trade bloc cannot be done on a whim.
As things stand today UK needs a leader with forcefulness of purpose, vision and foresight to guide them through what is a tricky phase and it seems quite clear that Theresa May is not that person. As Mrs May tries to cobble support and stay put as PM, how things will pan out with regards to Brexit remains unclear as of now. And somehow one feels this one has a twist or two still to come.One thing is certain though. Expect more fireworks.
The year was #1997. Arguably India’s finest shuttler #PrakashPadukone was on a rampage against the #BAI (Badminton Association of India) and in a rebellion that was backed by all the players formed the #IBC (Indian Badminton Confederation) The reason being that those at the helm of affairs seemed to treating it like their own personal fiefdom. It was also alleged that there was widespread corruption and nepotism in the sport. Players were not being given world class practice facilities and denied the international exposure that was essential in producing world beaters. And with the dismal results in top international tournaments over the last decade and more, the writing was on the wall. #Badminton, in the country was down in the dumps. So when Pullela Gopichand won the #AllEnglandOpen (considered the #OscarAwards of badminton) in #2001 it was completely unexpected. More so because Gopi had undergone three surgeries on his left knee in recent years which is perhaps why he lost quite tamely in the pre quarter finals of the #SydneyOlympics an year earlier. But clearly Gopi had other ideas.
Today almost two decades later, his proteges #HSPrannoy and #SrikanthKidambi have both entered the last 4 stage of the prestigious #IndonesianOpen. This is while the girls coached by him, #SainaNehwal and PV Sindhu (both had surprising early exits in the same tourney) have both gone to win Olympic medals for the country – a cherished dream which Gopi failed to achieve during his own playing career. It has been a long and arduous journey for the champion shuttler ever since he hung up his boots in the year #2003. Looking at the terrible situation that the sport was in, he decided to take up coaching and was soon named the #ChiefCoach of the Indian team. But this move did not go down well with many. After all he was self taught. As a result many senior players refused to train under him. Also Gopi realised while coaching the wards that there was one big drawback which was hampering the growth of Indian players. A world class facility.
Gopi felt he had to take things into his own hands i.e., start an #Academy of his own. But it was
easier said than done and he ran into difficulties in raising the funds necessary. Many corporates felt that badminton was simply not a sport that could attract eyeballs. And lest we forget ours is a #Cricket obsessed country. After five years of struggle, Gopi decided to put it all on the line by mortgaging his family home which finally helped him get the funds needed to start the Gopichand Academy in his native city of #Hyderabad. The year was #2008. Naysayers calling it a self destructive move were forced to shut up and take notice when a 16 year old Saina Nehwal who he had been coaching since 2004 started winning tournaments everywhere. Saina rose to become the first ever Indian world no 1 and her proudest moment came with the bronze medal at the #LondonOlympics in 2012. Life had come a full circle for Gopi.
But the success did not come without it’s fair share of controversies. Critics point out that he seemed inept at achieving the same kind of success with the doubles players. To make matter worse, top doubles player #JwalaGutta openly accused Gopichand of being biased towards singles players (read Saina) In 2014 his star protege Saina split up with Gopi because she felt his training was not ‘upto the mark’. But even before the dust around the controversy could settle down a new name had emerged from the Gopichand stable – Sindhu. In the next couple of years, Sindhu rose rapidly through the ranks and did one better than Saina by winning a silver in last year’s Olympics. Now with the men from his Academy making waves internationally, Gopi has proven it yet again. That he is the man with the Midas touch.