Pullela Gopichand has quite surprisingly stated that the future of Indian badminton would be unstable if they kept following this model, where the next generation hasn’t been given much time. He also said that while the Sports Authority of India is supportive, they lack knowledge about badminton.
While the badminton fans all across the county would be euphoric after what PV Sindhu did at the BWF World Championships, her coach and one of the most important ingredients in India’s badminton success, Gopichand, has been of the opinion that it would be short-lived.
“The area we have not focussed on is all the doubles events. Also, beyond Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu, we have not taken care of even one player at the junior and sub-junior level beyond sending them for the mandatory Junior World Championships and Junior Asian Championships,” said Gopichand, reported TOI.
“With Saina and Sindhu, I spent a lot of time. Also, with Kidambi Srikanth, Sai Praneeth, Sourabh Verma, Sameer Verma, Parupalli Kashyap and HS Prannoy. But what about the next generation? My question is where are the coaches? I don’t think the future is sustainable if we follow this model and have multiple people trying to control the sport. We need accountability. To identify talent and nurture it to the highest levels, we need a disciplined, structured programme,” he further added.
Since India’s success at the Rio Olympics, Indian badminton has seen money rushing in from all corners but Gopichand has stated that the domestic system has lacked structure and more importantly, regular churning out of coaches to keep the mill running.
“This academy (Gopichand Badminton Academy) and these eight courts is what you’re talking about. Badminton, post-Rio Olympics, is a different scenario. The number of academies is crazy. There’s a lot of funding, and a lot of chaos. So we need structure. We have a selection committee which unfortunately doesn’t have any long-term interest in sport.
“We haven’t sent the best team in the last couple of years for Thomas Cup, Sudirman Cup, Asian Games or Junior World Championships. I haven’t been in control of selection and that has to change. We have a Sports Authority of India (SAI) and government of India, which are supportive but also unknowledgeable about sport,” said Gopichand.