Life of a sportsperson is really beautiful: Pullela Gopichand

Pullela Gopichand, the chief coach of the India national badminton team and a former badminton player, shares his insights on the sport and more at Food A’Fair, HITEX
Life of a sportsperson is really beautiful: Pullela Gopichand

HYDERABAD: Food A’Fair 2024, a three-day event showcasing South India’s food and beverage retail and modern trade, recently commenced at HITEX, Madhapur. The event was inaugurated by Pullela Gopichand and Akhil Gawar, Director of the Telangana Food Processing Society (TFPS). Organised by Blitz Exhibitions Pvt. Ltd. in collaboration with the Telangana Food Processing Society, Food A’Fair is the first trade fair of its kind aimed at bridging the gap between retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers in the modern trade food and beverage sector, along with other allied industries.

Padmabhushan Pullela Gopichand, the chief coach of the India national badminton team and a former badminton player, has made the nation proud multiple times with his extraordinary achievements. CE caught up with him at Food A’Fair, HITEX, to share his insights on badminton and more.

Tell us about the Food A’Fair.

There were a lot of self-help initiatives for small enterprises, which were really impressive. I particularly liked the Millet Bank and the millet foods. Additionally, the milk and milk processing stalls were nice. Overall, I enjoyed many aspects of the fair. It was also great to see natural processing methods being used, whether it’s cold-pressed oil, handmade pickles, or handmade sweets. It’s nice to see these traditional methods making a comeback, as it helps in bringing back our traditions.

Since the event is about food, what’s your diet like, and how do you stay fit as a coach and ex-player?

For me, I prefer natural food. Of course, as I travel a lot, things do change, but I try to keep a schedule with lots of fruits and vegetables and some amount of meat and milk. These become the main things in my diet. Also, whenever possible, I choose millets like jowar rotis or other dishes my wife makes. I am also a fan of idli and South Indian foods.

Do you miss being a player? What do you enjoy the most, being a player or being a coach?

Of course, I miss being a player. I think the life of a sportsperson is really beautiful, but I know that it cannot last forever. However, I am still connected with the sport, so that’s really nice. I enjoy being a player the most, definitely. But I think the next best thing to that is being a coach.

As a player, what challenges have you faced in the past? And do you think the budding players are facing the same?

It was almost 30 years ago. Generations are different. Things were different then compared to now. I don’t say there won’t be any challenges but the type of challenges will be different. But overall, I think each generation has its own challenges. Discipline and determination help a sportsperson overcome them.

What do you believe sets apart exceptional athletes from the rest?

I think mental perseverance and grit are very important, and not giving up is a crucial aspect for athletes, and that is what sets them apart.

A few memorable moments from your journey?

As a player, I would say the All England Open Badminton Championships is something which is memorable. But also, many events which I have been part of, where teams have won because of me, are good things. Of course, the Olympic medals are special in my coaching career, and also Thomas Cup and the Badminton Asia Team Championships (BATC) wins of the team are also very special.

How do you envision the future of badminton?

Indians have a huge chance to make the country the best in the world in terms of performance. And I hope that in the years to come, we will see badminton reach even greater heights with improved performances.

Any advice for the upcoming players?

It’s a great time to be a sportsperson. I think you should put all your energies into it. If you have made a career in sports, it’s really nice.

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