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Pullela Gopichand: The man behind India’s rise in Badminton World

The amazing run of P.V. Sindhu at the Rio Olympics has brought the focus on her celebrated coach and his academy

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(Representational Image) Badminton. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
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HYDERABAD, August 20, 2016: If there is one person and one academy which helped India produce world-class shuttlers or champions and emerge as a badminton hotbed, it’s none other than Pullela Gopichand and his badminton academy here, in Hyderabad.

Sixteen years after his heart-breaking defeat at the Sydney Olympics, Gopichand came close to realising his Olympic dream, albeit in a different role.

The amazing run of P.V. Sindhu at the Rio Olympics has brought the focus on her celebrated coach and his academy here.

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Sindhu, who created history by bagging silver in the women’s singles event, is one of the products of Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy.

Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Sindhu is the second woman shuttler after Saina Nehwal to take the badminton world by storm and bring laurels to the academy set up by former All England Open Champion.

Analysts say the credit of turning India into a formidable force in the world of badminton goes to the 42-year-old, who has groomed world-class talents.

Srikanth Kidambi, Parupalli Kashyap, Prannoy Kumar, Arundhati Pantawane, Gurusai Datt and Arun Vishnu are other products of his academy who have made it big in the game.

Gopichand always had dreams of producing Olympic medallists. His efforts started yielding results with Saina bagging bronze in the 2012 London Olympics.

She became the first Indian woman shuttler to achieve the feat. Four years later, Gopichand’s dream again came true with Sindhu reaching the final and losing there only to World No.1 Carolina Marin.

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Gopi spotted talent in Sindhu when she started training at the academy at the age of 10.

The academy set up in 2008, with an eight-court badminton hall, is rated one of the best in Asia.

Gopi has proved what a turnaround a good institution can provide. He not only mobilised funds and created world-class infrastructure but identified and groomed those talents.

Players narrate how he involves himself in training them and improving their technique.

“Sometime I feel bad that inspite being down with cold and fever, he comes to the academy to train Sindhu and other players,” said Sindhu’s father P.V. Ramana, a former volleyball player.

In 2001, Gopi won the All England Open Championship to become only the second Indian after Prakash Padukone to lift the title. He admitted that the win came a bit late in his career.

Injuries forced Gopi to go for an early retirement but he decided to don the role of a coach and create a world class infrastructure to fill the vacuum.

The then government of united Andhra Pradesh allotted five acres of land to Gopichand in Gachibowli to set up an international badminton academy. Surrounded by campuses of several IT majors, it started functioning in 2008.

In March this year, Gopichand opened the second academy in the same area. Known as SportsAuthority of India (SAI)-Gopichand Academy, it has nine courts and can accommodate 60 trainees.

The twin academies together have 17 courts and can train 130 players. However, this is not sufficient to meet the huge demand, which picked up during the last five years.

Looking for talent across the country, Gopi set up academies in Gwalior, Vadodara, Tanuka (Andhra Pradesh) and Salem (Tamil Nadu). He also plans to open more including one in Greater Noida. (IANS)

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“I feel I give back less than what I receive, and this disturbs me”,Amitabh Bachchan

I do know, and am intelligent enough to know my present standing and what I deserve. But when it exceeds that, I feel a discomfort.

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Amitabh Bachchan
The veteran actor was also lost in nostalgia as he recounted the old times. Pixabay

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who is in Bulgaria to shoot “Brahmastra”, spared a thought about the care and concern he gets wherever he goes. But he finds it disturbing that he feels he gives back less than he gets.

In a blog post from Bulgaria, where he is enjoying the sun, Amitabh wrote: “Filmmaking from my times has undergone substantial change… Hundreds of unit and crew work assiduously on projects these days, every little detail of the making and production is looked at with such a degree of importance and a liberty it astonishes me.

“I feel guilty at times at what is on offer from the unit at times… Their care and concern, their efforts to make everything so comfortable and pleasant, all with such alacrity and love. I do know, and am intelligent enough to know my present standing and what I deserve. But when it exceeds that, I feel a discomfort.

“I feel I give back less than what I receive, and this disturbs me.”

Amitabh Bachchan
There were times in the past when prominence was shown in much the same manner. Wikimedia commons

The veteran actor was also lost in nostalgia as he recounted the old times.

“There were times in the past when prominence was shown in much the same manner. Well not to the extent it is nowadays, and I felt maybe it was justifiable. But now with diminished presence, I feel it not right. I try hard to skip past it but it catches up .. as does most things in life,” he added.

Also Read-Amitabh Bachchan Is All Set To His Compete With Actor Ranveer Singh According To His Instagram Caption

“Brahmastra” features Alia Bhatt an Ranbir Kapoor, with Nagarjuna cast in a special role. It is produced by Karan Johar and directed by Ayan Mukerji.

A trilogy, its first part will release on India’s Independence Day on August 15, 2019.(IANS)