New Delhi, April 24: India's national head coach Pullela Gopichand, top Indonesian coaches like Agus Dwi Santoso and Namrih Suroto and 700 other coaches witnessed an embarrassing moment on Friday (April 24) when the online badminton session of coaches was hacked. The video conferencing session was reportedly infiltrated by pornographic images.
The Badminton Association of India (BAI) and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) have organised the 21-day session due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the entire world. As per reports, some children and parents were also online during the video conferencing proceedings.
A coach was quoted by Times of India as saying that Santoso was in charge of the proceedings when the pictures started to pop up. The issue remained intermittent throughout the session, even making Gophichand quit the session.
"Santoso, the new Indonesian coach, was the resource person when pictures started appearing on the screen. There was a momentary gap and then the images resurfaced. This happened a number of times," a participant told the Times of India.
The news daily added further that several women coaches, parents and children were also part of the programme.
"When you are conducting a programme on such a large scale you should take precautions. There were several women coaches, parents and some children in the programme, though it is meant only for coaches," he said.
"We should have heeded the home ministry's advice. There are so many other platforms. What if something similar happens during online classes by schools?" asked another coach.
The SAI, meanwhile, denied the initial suggestions of the programme being hacked, instead labelled it as a technical glitch.
"In one such online workshop which was being held for badminton coaches on Thursday afternoon, there was a sudden technical malfunction leading to some unwanted material popping up on the screen. The session was being conducted by a senior coach of the Badminton Association of India, who also had the online technical control of the session," the statement said.
"SAI's IT department is investigating the issue in detail. However, it is clear that the Zoom session was not hacked," SAI added.
"The Sports Authority of India, in association with national sporting federations, is hosting online knowledge development workshop for coaches in 16 disciplines. So far all sessions have functioned smoothly, with 500-700 coaches from across the country participating in the workshops per session," an official statement from SAI, Bengaluru, said.
The Chinese video platform, Zoom, has been facing criticism for quite some time for its poor security measures. The government has even advised people against using this platform.