Process and goal are two aspects of journey to success, says Pullela Gopichand

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Process and goal are two aspects of journey to success, says Pullela Gopichand

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SportsCafe Desk


After winning the mentor of the year at the Times of India Sports Awards, Pullela Gopichand said that process and goal were the two aspects one has to go through on the journey to success. He evoked Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’ while recalling his 2001 triumph at the All England Championship.

Pullela Gopichand enjoyed a fantastic last weekend when his pupils Parupalli Kashyap and Sameer Verma won the Australian Open and the Swiss Open respectively. Gopichand had an even better start to this week as he was handed over with the mentor of the year award at the Times of India Sports Awards on Monday after which he revealed that process and goal are two aspects one has to go through while on his journey to success and always advises his pupils with this.

“There are two aspects of the journey — the process and the goal. You visualize it. It happened to me in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney,” said Gopichand

Gopichand had a career which used to go hand and hand with injuries, especially his knees. He recalled some of his life experiences where he learned a host of things that have been advised by him to his pupils.

“When I was playing, I started off not knowing this would be my career for a very long time. 

"When I was 20, I had an anterior cruciate ligament tear in my left leg in 1994. I had more surgery on my knee in 1996 and 1998. There were two pieces of advice that I got, one was from my doctor, Dr. Ashok Rajgopal, in Delhi. He said, ‘Gopi, I have done the graft on your knee and I believe that it is stronger than your other knee. If you get injured, no problem. Come back and we will do another surgery’. It gave me confidence.

"Making a comeback from a knee injury is tough. After knee surgeries every two years, I would come up, go down, come up, go down. Eventually, when I stopped in 2003, it was surgery on my right knee which was an overuse injury. I had overused my knee since the other one was injured,” added the 44-year-old.

Gopichand also revealed that throughout his injury problems he did not receive too much advice from Indian coaches but rather remembered Chinese coach Su Yung reaching out and helping him when he truly needed it. 

“It is very strange that I never got this advice from my Indian coaches. It was Su Yung, a Chinese coach. He called my friend Oliver Pongraj after I lost the Dutch Open in the first round. My knee was paining, I could not play well. I was crying, sobbing and then he called me and said, ‘It is not how many times you fall or how hard you fall, but it is each time you get up that counts’. It is these things that I constantly remember,” said the former Indian Player.

Gopichand was on top of his game during the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and always wanted to win a medal for the country. He was denied the medal due to an injury in the pre-quarterfinal match that led him to lose out onto the match against Hendrawan in the pre-quarterfinals.

"For six months, I lived the life of a monk, training to win at the Olympics. I go to the Olympics believing I will win there. Every morning, I get up and visualize myself winning that medal. Strangely, the courts at the Olympics were cemented. With my knee surgeries, I had a ball at the back of the knee, which was swollen up and I just could not recover from my quarterfinal match. I had a 101-degree temperature, took three Brufens, had three massages, still [there was] nothing else besides swelling in my knee. I lost the match. The next day, I was still getting these dreams and thoughts that I am winning a medal. I had to pat myself and say, ‘Boss, it’s not happening. Ho gaya, khatam, Olympics toh khatam ho gaya hai,” recalled Gopichand.

Even though he did not win any medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics, Pullela Gopichand became only thethe second Indian after Prakash Padukone to win the prestigious the All England Championship.

“A few months later, the All England happens. Now, connecting the dots, it is like in The Alchemist. If you want something, then nature conspires to give it to you. This was so true, that if you want something and put all your energies to get it, you will get it,” concluded the Indian chief national coach.

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