Pulella Gopichand is humble enough to admit that the Dronacharya Award would be a big boost as far as his coaching career is concerned. But more than that, he believes that this award will inspire him to produce more Saina Nehwals in future. For him, it’s also a big encouragement for badminton in the country.
“I believe this award will be celebrated by the entire badminton fraternity in our country. And it will inspire not only the upcoming players, but also the seasoned professionals and experienced coaches,” Gopichand told The Indian Express. “As a former player and coach, I’m doing my bit. But it’s really up to the administrators to nurture talents. Better infrastructure and other facilities are needed for the growth of the game in the country,” he added.
Ironically, at a time the former All England champion is basking in the glory of his Dronacharya Award, the Gopichand School of Badminton, set up by the Badminton Players’ Association in Bengal, is facing problems with the West Bengal Badminton Association not extending support.
The Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) Kolkata wing has barred Gopichand’s School from holding camps in the city as according to the SAI, the school is not approved by the state association or the Union government. The camps that were started last December came to an abrupt end in April after the State Sports Council refused to renew the contract with Gopichand’s badminton school.
Gopichand is very disappointed over the developments. “It’s unfortunate. Everybody should join hands to help prosper the game. The Players’ Association should try to acquire a plot of land where it can set up its own training school. Otherwise, it would be very difficult for the unit to run clinics and camps,” he said. “I will help them in this regard if they come to me,” he added.
The Players’ Association is in search for a plot of land. It has also started two coaching camps, in Raiganj and Garden Reach.
The Dronacharya awardee will be visiting the camps in September. Saina too is likely to drop in.