Bhubaneswar: From being an international player to producing international players. From winning Arjuna Award to being conferred with Dronacharya Award. Padma Bhushan Pullela Gopichand has come a long way and his contribution towards Indian badminton is unparalleled. P Gopichand was in Bhubaneswar on Sunday to attend the 25th Ekalabya Puraskar instituted by IMPaCT. Odishatv.in caught up with him at the sidelines of the event. The excerpts….
- Odisha Connection
My first few years were in Odisha. My father was posted in Rayagada in a bank working as an Agriculture Officer. I was the centre of my parents’ whole world. We have a lot of family friends in Odisha and we are still in touch with them. I have very fond memories of my childhood here but I don’t remember those early days, my parents do.
- Producing top players at his academy
Indian badminton has done really well over the years. Thanks to this journey which was started by Saina and today we have players like Sindhu, Prannoy, Srikanth and Kashyap. Nowadays players like Sai Praneeth, Sourav, Sameer etc have also come a long way. I think the whole bunch of players have done really well. It’s been a very fulfilling journey.
- How does the coach react?
The first thing I try to do is I don’t put my pressure on them because I think as a coach and after many years of watching players lose and win, I think there is a certain amount of calmness the way I look at success and defeat. It’s very important for the players to emotionally cut-off from victory or loss in a match to keep performing well.
- Change in life from player to a coach
It’s almost 14 years, I haven’t played any competition. For me it has been a fulfilling journey. As a player your focus is on yourself but as a coach we have to look at the players as well as the administration. As a coach you have challenging times, you have to do a lot of work for the players. A 360 degree care of players is very essential. It has been a challenging journey but a rewarding one as well.
- Future of Badminton in Odisha
Odisha has a lot of talent. It’s upto us to put in efforts to identify talents and nurture them. It’s a good initiative by SAI to put up a Regional Badminton Academy here. We should have good coaches who are motivated to give proper guidance to the players.
- On National Junior Doubles Champion Rutaparna Panda
As a player she brings a lot of positivity on the court, she is a fighter and has a lot of energy. The way she has improved in the last year is amazing. It’s great to have a player like her. I truly think with consistent efforts from our side we will see him performing better and better in coming days.