India is home to 1.2 billion people out of which there are millions who are into sports. Whether at school level or at the national level representing India, we Indian play various sports. For a cricket loving nation, other sports have surely taken a backseat. However it’s during big international events like the Olympics or a India vs Pakistan match that everyone becomes an expert at that sport. One of the reasons behind the success of our players / teams are the people behind them. Be it the support staff or the coaching staff, these are the people who are away from their families for months together to ensure the players perform well. With the conclusion of the Rio Olympics 2016, one such coach that has set up a benchmark for all other coaches is Pullela Gopichand who is our ultimate guru.
Gopichand’s love for sports
From wanting to become a cricketer to playing Badminton, Gopichand has surely hit the right chord. He has been one of the finest badminton players during his times. He is only the second Indian shuttler to win the prestigious All England Open Badminton Championship after Prakash Padukone achieved this feat. Gopichand was at his peak during the late 90s and early 2000s when he won various tournaments. After a glistering career like that, Gopichand could have become a critic of the game doing various talk shows, pre match presentations etc. but he had a different thought. Unlike most of the players from various sport, especially cricket, he decided to do something for the sport and hence setup the Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad
Rise of Guru Gopichand
Gopichand took the role of a coach after setting up the academy. For that he even mortgaged his house to an industrialist on a condition to win a medal at the Olympics. And since then there has been no turning back for Gopichand. The academy has produced some of the finest shuttler in the world. Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu are probably the biggest names in world badminton today. Various other players including P Kashyap, S Kidambi to name a few have been the product of this academy.
The question I ask is Why can’t every sportsperson be like Gopichand ? Most of the sportsperson after quitting from the game are either doing TV shows or spending time in leisure. On the other hand, the sport associations are always on the lookout for a ‘firangi‘ coach for the players. Why can’t our teams have Indian coaches ? Are they not competent to coach our players ? I feel an Indian coach would have a better rapport with the team along with the vast experience. Also having played the game themselves, Indian coaches will surely be an asset to the players. What do you think ? Desi or Videsi coach ? Let us know in the comments below.
After setting such a great example for everyone, I hope we get to see more Indian coaches in sports. Thanks Guru Gopichand for inspiring millions of people !