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Things have changed for the better in Indian badminton, opines Pullela Gopichand

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Things have changed for the better in Indian badminton, opines Pullela Gopichand

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SportsCafe Desk

01/22/2019

Pullela Gopichand, the current national badminton chief coach, has asserted that badminton has undergone tremendous change in India since his playing days a decade ago. Gopichand added that he hopes to see India win it’s first-ever gold medal in badminton in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Popular Indian badminton stars such as Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth amongst others have become household names all across the country over the past decade. Their exploits on international platform’s such as the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games and more recently, the Asian Games, have helped catapult players like them to a whole new level. Their success has helped bring about a drastic change in the manner in which badminton is perceived amongst modern Indian citizens.

Former India badminton player and present chief coach of the Indian badminton team, Pullela Gopichand, opined that badminton has seen tremendous positive growth over the last decade or so.

"The sport has jumped in all parameters. Prakash (Padukone) Sir played leagues in Denmark, Vimal (Kumar) played in the United Kingdom, I played leagues in Germany and today we host the biggest badminton league in the world (Premier Badminton League).

"So yeah, things have changed. We have (Carolina) Marin coming here to play, Viktor (Axelson) coming here to play. Tournaments in those countries have stopped because we have leagues more popular than theirs. The earnings of top players have gone up dramatically as well. They are encouraging a whole set of people to take the sport forward," Gopichand told TNN reporters at a recent event.

The 45-year old former All England champion was also asked the obvious question about India’s chances of clinching gold in the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo which is a year and a half away. Gopichand responded with renewed optimism as he talked up India’s chances of securing that evading Olympic gold medal for the first time in the history of the games.

"Well, I think every year, in the last few years, has been better than the previous one. In the 2008 edition of the Beijing Games, we made it to the quarterfinal for the first time. In the 2012 London Games we won an individual bronze (Saina Nehwal) for the first time. In the Rio Games in 2016, we won our first-ever silver medal (PV Sindhu). So I am hopeful that in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics we will have our first-ever gold," Gopichand added.

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