The way Prannoy has fought through pain is truly remarkable, says Gopichand
In the last two years, when the Indian singles shuttlers have failed to live up to the expectations, surprisingly, one name has kept the flag flying high -- HS Prannoy. The WR-6 shuttler has won medals at almost all the major competitions and has an outside chance of winning medal at the Olympics.
His coach for the longest time, Pullela Gopichand spoke about the journey that the 31-year-old has gone through, fighting the injuries. “The way he has been fighting through the physical pain is truly remarkable. I just wish that people could understand my feelings and write about it accurately. When I look at him, I see a person who is in pain, but still fighting with all his might. I have never seen an athlete bear such a heavy burden. I hope he continues to do so for a long time to come,” said Gopichand at the ‘Perseverance and Sports’ at Sportstar’s Sports Conclave - Focus Telangana.
He went on to say that the Indian team has come a long way from the days when he played the sport, compared to when the current lot is playing. “It is amazing to have people like Prannoy. Some of these seniors anchored the team. You need someone to say that this is our team and everyone respects that. This team did that. Srikanth played the leader, and then you have younger players like Lakshya Sen. (In) 1994, the Indian team was not sent to the Commonwealth because we did not feature in the top six in any category,” he said.
"The journey from not being part of the Commonwealth Games to being World Cup champions is what Indian badminton is. 1989 and 1999 were the two times India made it to the finals of the Thomas Cup, an event which has 16 teams. Then today we talk about being World Champions. Whether it is my All England, Saina’s first pre-quarterfinals in the Olympics in 2008, or the 2010 Commonwealth Games medals, or the 2014 ones, I think this is really the journey of Indian badminton. I have seen this. We have been told Indians can never be champions or good coaches. I have heard this from the press and bureaucrats.”
Gopichand also shared his success mantra for his players, which is not very strict. “When people watch a game from the stands or on TV, they might wonder how a mistake happened. However, it’s not easy to make the right decision under high pressure, and humans are prone to errors. Most victories come from doing what is necessary and having the discipline to do it, even if it’s not something you’re used to.
“Sometimes, you have to do something that you’re not comfortable with, but doing it with discipline will lead to success. If you don’t have the discipline to do what’s needed, you will lose, but that’s okay because you can always come back the next day. Personally, I’m not usually strict, but I take the preparations seriously. If you have the discipline to do what’s needed, even if it’s not what you’re used to, you can become a champion.”