Success of Srikanth and others is a result of hard work and planning: Gopi

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Pullela Gopichand
Chief National badminton coach P Gopichand interacting with young players.

Hyderabad: The success of Kidambi Srikanth in the last week’s Indonesian Open Premier Super Series is another feather on the cap of chief coach Pullela Gopichand.

“I think it is the result of the hard work over the years. These players have matured now and they have come to believe that they can play well in the international circuit. I feel extremely happy about the number of wins but it doesn’t help me enjoy or relax fully. After one tournament is over, I think about the next,’’ said Gopichand while talking to Telangana Today on Wednesday.

Gopichand said the decision to bring in the Indonesian coach Mulyo Handyo and Malaysian doubles coach Tan Kim Her was to give more attention on singles and doubles. “Luckily, we have been able to get good coaches, who have a very creditable record. We can focus on each of them. For example, in singles, we have Kashyap, Sai Praneeth, Srikanth, Prannoy, Sameer, Saurabh, Sindhu, Rituparna, Ruthvika Shivani, who are quality players apart from the junior talent.

“For one person to manage and travel on a daily basis was becoming very hectic for me. Every single session in sport is important. Even at the Olympics, I was writing programmes for the camp in Hyderabad. Those things put too much pressure on me. Now, after these coaches have taken over the responsibilities, there is a lot of concerted planning. The players are more focused. We are looking at individual brilliance at the highest level where we can get results in big tournaments on consistent basis. These players have the ability to deliver in big tournaments.’’

According to Gopichand, these coaches understand the system. “It took a little bit of time and luckily we got an experienced coach like Mulyo. “We have a few more coaches like Siddharth Jain and Amrish Shinde. Actually, four in number and they will get on different courts. All of the eight players are able to get quality training. Now, the results are showing as there is more individual attention on the players.’’

Gopichand said even in doubles with the Malaysian coach’s presence, the Indians have improved by leaps and bounds. “We have already Pranaav Chopra and Sikki (Reddy) in top 15. The doubles are getting closer to top ten. We hope to break into top ten by next year. Ashwini and Sikki are doing well in women’s doubles while there is Satwiksairaj and Chirag are making rapid strides.’’

As a coach, Gopichand said he has a lot to learn. “I always believed that a lot of things keep changing in the world of sport. I don’t have any fixed pattern. I always try and keep learning and generating new ideas to become a successful coach.’’

On additional responsibility of being the part of the eight-member Empowered Steering Committee (ESC), along with Abhinav Bindra and Viren Rasquinha, Gopichand said Indian sport, thanks to the initiative of the Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi, they have been given a platform to explore the sports talent in the country. “In general, we are looking for inspiration and we would try to look to improve the sport in general. There is huge potential in other sports too and it is all about good programme, planning and intensity.’’