Pullela Gopichand has said that the country is facing a dearth of coaches who are skilled enough to help the upcoming players prepare and strategize for the international arena. He further expressed his wish of seeing the current players coaching in the future to help maintain the sport’s progress.
Founder of the renowned Gopichand Badminton Academy that is responsible for producing all of the nation’s present star shuttlers, Pullela Gopichand has had a major hand in taking the sport forward in the country. He has groomed national icons such as Saina Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap, Kidambi Srikanth, Jwala Gutta and PV Sindhu, who recently became the first Indian to be crowned world champion.
However, the 45-year-old feels the present personnel is not enough and there is a lack of experienced coaches in the country that can keep up with the ever-increasing popularity of the sport and the subsequent emergent of talented prospects.
“We have not invested enough in coaches. We actually have a big vacuum in terms of producing coaches of quality and it’s not a training program. It’s an ecosystem issue. So, we need to work harder to bridge that gap,” he was reported saying by Scroll.in in a press conference in Hyderabad on Tuesday night.
Having been awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian award five years back for his coaching exploits, Gopichand stated that even though they have coaches like South Korean Kim Ji-Hyun, they need more such people to help Indians achieve greater success. Gopichand himself became a coach after having a highly successful playing career, in which he became only the second Indian to win the All England Open and he expects his apprentices to do the same.
“We haven’t achieved that. Hopefully, when this generation of players retire, we will get them as coaches. If these people get back into coaching, then we’ll actually get numbers which are required. It’s a question without an easy answer and till that time, support by foreign coaches is needed,” Gopichand added.
The sport has received massive boosts in terms of following over the past few years due to the unprecedented success of shuttlers like Sindhu and Nehwal internationally, which has led to the upgradations not being able to catch up to the present requirements.
“It’s also our own doing. Because, we have grown too fast and the infrastructure around us hasn’t grown enough. That’s a big problem we have and we need to sort it out. We need to talk about it and collectively find an answer,” Gopichand concluded.
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