Head coach of the Indian badminton, Pullela Gopichand has stated that his aim as a coach has always been to win all the things that he couldn’t achieve as the player during his playing days. He also shed light on the varying training methods he has to come up with for PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal.
As a player, Gopichand wasn’t immensely successful with only notable feats being winning the bronze medal at the 1998 Commonwealth Games and the prestigious All England Open Badminton Championships. However, the man from Andhra Pradesh has pretty much compensated them all with his academy that has produced Olympic medal-winning shuttlers like PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal.
And the 46-year-old has admitted that winning the Olympic medal, which eluded throughout his career was his major objective as a coach. “Somehow to win an Olympic medal and I am pleased that Saina (Nehwal) got the first one in the 2012 London Olympics (a bronze). The reason is pretty simple — no one thought or gave the Indians a chance to even think of, leave alone winning, it,” said Gopichand, reported Sportstar.
“That was the biggest driving force for me — to change the contours of Indian badminton. The logic too is pretty simple — what I missed as a player when at my peak I am just trying to ensure that my trainees shouldn’t,” he added.
However, despite his great achievements as a coach, the challenge has kept on changing for Gopichand and after Saina and Sindhu have become the stars that they are, the coach has set his eyes on finding their successors. And Gopichand is of the opinion that grinding junior coaches at the grassroots level would be the ideal way forward.
“I repeat again it is imperative for us to get a system in place which would ensure a continuity to the kind of results we have been producing of late. The biggest challenge now for all of us (involved in badminton) is to identify the best of the juniors and groom them into potential champions. One must remember that the big powers of badminton like China, Indonesia, Malaysia or even Japan now are not producing champions just like that.
“They don’t come randomly. It is because there has been a lot of planning, meticulous execution and again a system which got the desired support from all quarters including the government,” said Gopichand.
Finally, coaching finished products like Saina and Sindhu have been a complicated and tiring task for Gopichand as he has now focused on bringing the youngsters to the surface. However, ahead of the big tournaments like the recent BWF World Championships, Gopichand has been seen on the sidelines and has done a great job.
“It is tough, definitely. For I have to constantly evolve a coaching pattern which suits their varied style of game, approach and many other factors. It needed a lot of attention, care and concern. Never easy given the fact that they are world-class players and on whom the entire focus is on always. Every move mattered and I am glad that we have been successful so far with Saina setting the trend and Sindhu raising the bar,” he concluded.