As the nation and the city celebrate the phenomenal success of PV Sindhu, who became the first Indian to win gold in World Championship in Basel on Saturday, former chief national coach S Mohammed Arif recollects memories from the ’70s when he used to struggle to get shuttles, that too Indian-made ones, for the few trainees at Lal Bahadur Indoor Stadium.
“There were hardly players who showed interest in the game. I was provided three shuttles in the morning and three for evening. I had to convince people to play badminton and to manage with minimum facilities was the biggest challenge,” recalls the 76-year-old veteran coach, who has not lost none of his passion for the game.Today, Hyderabad has turned into a nursery of Indian badminton. Pullela Gopichand started the revolution by winning the All England championship in 2001, before the spectacular rise of Saina Nehwal, who made badminton, the second most popular game after cricket in the country.
Gopichand started what could be an epoch-making decision to construct an academy in Gachibowli. “I was deprived of the facilities. I wanted to prove that given the facilities, India can achieve great results. It is not all about skills, but it needs power, endurance and speed. Today, if Sindhu or Saina have achieved results in Worlds and Olympics, it is because of the vigorous and scientific training,” he says.
Hyderabad boasts of more 500 small academies but it has more than five international standard academies. Pradeep Raju of Suchitra Academy in Kompally, where Sindhu undergoes fitness training says, “Constructed on the lines of modern academy, we have gym, seven courts, three foreign coaches, 14 Indian coaches, four strengthening physios. The trainees are given ice bath twice a week. We have about 130 trainees, including from other states of the country.”Former National coach Bhaskar Babu, in association with Marri Laxman Reddy, also runs a academy which caters to players requirements.
“Parents from different parts of the country are ready to push their children into taking up badminton as a career. There is a new energy and enthusiasm. We need to catch up with Japan, who are savouring the success because of a strong system. Now, we are also creating that system,” adds Bhaskar Babu.Former national champion Chetan Anand, who runs an academy, also feels there is tremendous potential in the city. “Badminton has become a big sport in the country now. Sindhu and Saina have made it happen,” says Chetan.
Celebs hail Sindhu for historic win
A string of Bollywood personalities like Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma among many others have hailed ace shuttler PV Sindhu for becoming the first Indian to win the BWF World Championships.
Amitabh Bachchan: You persevered and never gave up! That is the spirit of India and of champions such as yourself.
Shah Rukh Khan: Congratulations. P.V. Sindhu for winning the Gold at the BWF World Championships… Making us proud as a nation with your exceptional talent. Keep creating history!
Ajay Devgn: Congratulations Sindhu on your big win. A proud moment for India P.V. Sindhu.
Anushka Sharma: First Indian to win gold at the BWF World Championships 2019… @Pvsindhu1 what a terrific performance! Congratulations.. you go girl.
Kriti Sanon: Such a memorable win at the BWF World Championships! You Go Girl! 1st Indian to win the! You make us so so proud. Keep shining and inspiring us forever!
Aditi Rao Hydari: Congratulations P.V. Sindhu! Such an incredible victory at the BWF World Championships Super super proud!