HYDERABAD: KIM Ji Hyun is the first foreign woman to coach Indian shuttlers. Having spent about six months with them at Pullela Gopichand Academy, the South Korean seems to have developed a close bond with the players. Though she was reportedly hired by Sports Authority of India (SAI) to train only female shuttlers, she was seen at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium during the Hyderabad Open, trying to guide even male shuttlers.
However, when it comes to regular routine these days, Hyun has been spending most of her “coaching” time with PV Sindhu, she revealed in a chat with this daily. When asked the reason behind that, she refused to comment.
It has been reported in the past that Sindhu and Saina Nehwal train separately. Once in a while, Hyun trains upcoming shuttlers and some top male shuttlers like HS Prannoy and Sourabh Verma. In a season that can be termed ordinary for most top singles shutters in the country, Sindhu has produced some good results. She is yet to win a title, though.
Asked whether she has brought in changes to the training regime of the shuttlers, the 44-year-old said: “Yeah. I have brought in some changes in terms of how they warm up and cool down. I believe these are the most important things, considering the degree of professionalism involved. I am making them play more matches during training. I cannot tell you the details, but now they are warming up properly; not just doing stuff like jogging. The objective is to bring in changes step by step.”
The former Asian Games gold medallist says she needs more time to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of Indian shuttlers. “It is kind of difficult for me to properly evaluate their game, given that I have been training them for only a few months. Their regime and approach to the game are quite different. The men’s contingent is quite good, and there are Saina and Sindhu in the women’s category. It is hard to change a lot of things. Hopefully, we will be able to strike a balance between how they have been training for years and some new methods.”
Having trained athletes the world over, Hyun was a little surprised when she first came in. Queried on how the experience of training Indian players has been, she remarked: “It has been up and down. It is not easy for someone to experience such a shift. I have coached the Korean national team and some other teams in Europe. When I came here, it felt totally different. The training attitude is different. The weight training is different.”