Pullela Gopichand has been coaching since 2004. He has worked with players such as P.V. Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, and K. Srikanth. He has coached around 25 players. India never expected these players to achieve world-wide dominance in the sport. PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal have represented India on a global level. Badminton, as a sport has flourished a lot in India in the past decade. Gopichand said that when he started coaching in 2004, there were only 10 good courts in Hyderabad. But, as of today, there are more than a thousand courts. Kids from all over the country including Mizoram, Punjab have started joining his Academy. Parents have started supporting the kids. They are even opting to stay with them in Hyderabad. Badminton as a sport seems to have a bright future as many people have started developing an interest in the sport.
People consider badminton to be an expensive game. But, in the coming years, the cost of playing the sport should be reduced. As a result, more kids will get into it. With synthetic shuttles being developed, the cost of the shuttle will also go down in the coming years. He said that when he started, he never expected they would turn into such world-beaters. People did not think women could hit the shuttle hard enough to win. In 1980, Prakash Padukone won the all England title which became one of the defining moments in Indian badminton.
Gopichand did not want his players to play Super defensive but rather wanted them to stretch out, running, and jumping all over. Gopichand wanted to try this strategy but his injuries were an obstacle. He ended up training the kids to play in that way. P.V. Sindhu was the youngest of the kids he was training at that time. The sport is well disciplined. It requires a lot of hard work and dedication. The trainers had two sessions, one at 6 a.m. and one at 4 p.m. When they get into the sport, the person needs to be physically and mentally prepared to overcome the challenges. With people appreciating the players and the sport, India is developing more respect towards badminton.
Who is Pullela Gopichand?
Pullela Gopichand won the 2001 all England open Championship. He was the second Indian to achieve this title after Prakash Padukone. He trained under S.M. Arif earlier. Later on, he joined Prakash Padukone Academy. He won the National Badminton Championship title five times from 1996 to 2000. In 2008, after retirement, he started the Gopichand Badminton Academy modeling his house. Now, the Academy is well-known for producing world-class players. Some of them are Saina Nehwal, Sai Praneeth, Srikanth Kidambi, Parupalli Kashyap, and Arundhati Pantawane. Nehwal won a bronze in the 2012 Summer Olympics and Sindhu won silver in the 2016 Summer Olympics. P.V. Sindhu is also the first Indian to win the BWF world championship.
Gopichand has won numerous awards including the Arjuna Award in 1999, Dronacharya Award in 2009, and Padma Bhushan in 2014 which is considered as India’s third-highest civilian award. With such an encouraging coach and people supporting the game, we will surely see a lot of world-dominating badminton players from India. Let us know in the comments section about your favorite badminton player.