Know why PV Sindhu coach Gopichand had to mortgage family home
By Views Headlines Correspondent
NEW DELHI: His protégé PV Sindhu has brought the only silver medal that India won during the just concluded Rio Olympics. And since then the whole nation of 125 million people is not just talking about PV Sindhu but also her coach Pullela Gopichand.
This is not the first time that someone trained by him has won an Olympic medal. In a remarkable feat of sorts Pullela Gopichand has guided Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu to Olympic medals in the successive Games. In a country like India where Olympic medals are as rare as alignment of Earth and Mars, this is simply unbelievable.
Now the world class coach who has become the most sought after in the country says he could have never achieved the success had he cleared the engineering exam. He says that his brother, a state champion, passed the IIT entrance exam while he failed the engineering test and ended up getting time to play badminton.
While talking to a news agency the renowned badminton coach said, “My brother and I both played sports. He was fantastic in sports and now I feel that I was lucky I wasn’t good in studies…He was a state champion. He wrote his IIT exam and passed. He went to IIT and stopped playing. I wrote the engineering exam and failed and I continued in sports and this is where I stand now. I think you have to be focused and even lucky sometimes”.
The 42-year old badminton player, among the best that the country has produced, went on to become only the second Indian to win the All England title in 2001 and soon after he retired and decided to open his own academy.
He says that he had to struggle hard while finding promoters for himself and his players. “I remember having gone to a certain PSU few years back. I was made to wait for three continuous days outside the room when they promised me support for badminton but after waiting from 9 in the morning to 5:30 in the evening after three days a certain officer at a high position came up to me and said that badminton doesn’t have the eyeballs to be a world sport…That was the last day I had gone ahead and asked anybody for sponsorship. The same night I went back home and thanks to my parents and wife, we mortgaged our house and that is how the academy came up,” Gopichand said in a felicitation ceremony by IIFCL here yesterday.
It is now more than a decade since that happened and he hasn’t looked back. He has produced two Olympic medallist and he said he never thought his dream to see India win an Olympic medal in badminton would come true so soon.
“I started the academy in 2004 with 25 young kids. Sindhu was one of my youngest kid at about eight years and P Kashyap was the oldest at 15. When I started coaching I had this dream that India would win an Olympic medal someday. I didn’t know that we could so soon in 2012 win our first medal…I think maybe I should retire now because my goals were all finished and done with” says he.
The coach says though he was treated badly by some people he was also thankful to the good souls who have always been there to supported him. “We have people in the ministry who have been ridiculous in their way of treating us but we also have some great souls who have supported us…I hadn’t applied for the Rashtriya Khel Protsahana Puraskar and the Padma Bhushan but few supportive officials felt that I should still be given the award. So its those kind of officials and people who move the sport forward…God has been very kind in my lifetime, whenever I have had problems He has sent somebody for help” says he.