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Coaches need to be respected, rewarded, says Gopichand

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Mumbai : Backing the view of shuttle ace Prakash Padukone, India’s national badminton coach, Pullela Gopichand, on Wedneday said sports coaches need to be respected and rewarded for new players to emerge.

“I completely agree with Prakash sir. It’s very important that coaches need to be looked at, it’s high time we looked at it because we should have looked at it in the past 10 years and we haven’t. And it’s not only badminton but across all sports; this is for me the most important thing which is there,” Gopichand said.

“Coaches need to be respected, coaches need to be rewarded, coaches need to be awarded and people should be motivated to take up coaching,” said Gopichand on the sidelines of the function to announce a grass-roots talent hunt plan by his academy with IDBI Federal Life Insurance.


A few days ago, Prakash said that it was high time the badminton-governing body in the country, BAI, Sports Authority of India and the sports ministry looked at coaching the coaches by inviting top foreign coaches to do the job.

“We treat Indian coaches differently, foreign coaches differently. I’ll have to say this openly, but there’s not a single rupee of remuneration which any of the coaches in the past have got from either the federation or the SAI. It’s time they start looking at coaches differently, start looking at coaching differently. And unless we do that we can’t sustain the ecosystem of sports,” he explained.

“I think this is an aspect which, for the last few years, has been a challenge of the entire ecosystem which brings the best players back into the sport. And creating good coaches doesn’t end with giving them good training. It is the entire ecosystem which is important.

A coach needs to be respected. “I’m sure everyone has these challenges in the teaching profession as well. The best mind doesn’t get into teaching.

Likewise, we also face the same challenges with coaching. Coaches need to be trained, need to be motivated, need to be recognised, need to be rewarded. All these are important. “In the entire ecosystem of the sport, how many coaches do we know from various fields? Even sportspersons, reporters, and myself, we would not know so many of them. Also, how much of pay we give them is also important,” he remarked.

“The best models in the world are where they’re coached at and athlete-centric and system-driven and unfortunately we’re far away from that model,” he added.

Gopichand also expressed concerns over the cramped international calendar of the Badminton World Federation.

“I think they’ve cramped the calendar too much. It’s unfortunate the kind of thinking that the BWF has. And I don’t agree to what they have in terms of getting players to play so many tournaments. And there are players who’re already getting injured, performances have not been consistent at all and it doesn’t help the players’ cause when they have to continue to push themselves to play so many tournaments.

“There’re so many ways of ensuring that the sport is promoted and cramping up the calendar and forcing the players to play is not a very good idea,” he added.

On the new service rule announced by the BWF, he said “I approve of it.”

As per the new rule, the shuttle should be below 1.15 metres from the surface of the court at the instant of being hit by the server’s racquet.