Revisiting Pullela Gopichand's contributions to Indian badminton on his birthday
As the Indian badminton super coach Pullela Gopichand turns 44 today, a bilingual biopic about his life journey has been announced and will be presented by Fox Star Studios in collaboration with Abundantia Entertainment. On this occasion, let's revisit Gopichand's journey from a top player to most sought-after coach and his immense contribution to the growth and popularity of badminton in India.
Biggest achievement playing for India
Born on 16 Nov 1973, in Nagandla Andhra Pradesh, Pullela Gopichand made his international badminton debut in 1991. Gopichand's biggest achievement, which he will forever be remembered for, was winning the 2001 All England Open Badminton Championship, the only second Indian player, and so far the last one, to have won it after Prakash Padukone's feat in 1980.
Recognition from government of India
For his contribution to sport as a player and coach, Gopichand was awarded - Arjuna Award (1999), Rajiv Khel Ratna Award (2001), Padma Shri (2005), Dronacharya Award (2009), and Padma Bhushan (2014).
Turning a coach
Injuries forced Gopichand to retire early from the game in 2003. He then decided to take up coaching by opening a world-class training facility, Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad, in the year 2008. This is where some of our top athletes Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu were shaped and nurtured; they then went on to win Olympic bronze and silver respectively.
India's top players are Gopichand academy's products
India's best players are products of Gopichand's academy. Apart from Sindhu and Saina, it includes Kidambi Srikanth, Parupalli Kashyap, Sai Praneeth, HA Prannoy and the like.