MUMBAI: Over the past decade or so, India has built steadily on the foundations laid by Pullela Gopichand and Saina Nehwal. Indian badminton dug deeper into the talent pool this year, with Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy and Sai Praneeth complementing the success of Saina and PV Sindhu. But even as the players are emerging, the country is staring at a scarcity of coaches to mould future champions.
“We have to develop an ecosystem which brings the best players back into the sport,” said India’s national coach Gopichand at an event in Mumbai on Wednesday.
“Creating good coaches doesn’t end with giving them good training. A coach needs to be respected. How much of pay we give them is also important. We treat Indian coaches differently, foreign coaches differently. There’s not a single rupee of remuneration which the coaches in the past have got from either the federation or the SAI. It’s time they start looking at.”
A former All England champion with a remarkable work ethic, Gopichand brought all his experience and expertise into play as he set about changing the face of Indian badminton. The Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad has become a centre of excellence, producing a number of champions.
Even as Sindhu went on to win a silver at the World Championships, it was Srikanth who proved to be India’s most prolific player, winning four Super Series titles in the season. “He’s young and has many years to compete. He’s 24. We can expect that he has 8-10 years of badminton left in him.”