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9:19 am - Sunday March 18, 2018

Saina back with Gopichand

Agencies, Hyderabad

The original Indian shuttle queen Saina Nehwal is back to where it all started-the famed Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy (PGBA). By poetic justice, the hiatus ends almost three years to the day.

Monday marks a return to the base, which she had deserted after a tempestuous exit that was almost a rebellion against the guru when she switched loyalties and moved to the Garden City to train under former national champion U Vimal Kumar at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA) on September 2, 2014. Her immediate tweets were emotional to the core.

“For a while I’ve been thinking about moving my training base back to the Gopichand academy and I had a discussion about this with Gopi sir. I am really thankful to him for agreeing to help me again. At this stage in my career, I think he can help me achieve my goals, I m very happy to be back home and train in Hyderabad.”

The parting of ways between the Dronacharya and his famed pupil has been such that Gopichand and Saina were not on talking terms in the past three years! Although the initial honing was at PGBA, the fact also remains that she achieved career highs while under the tutelage of Vimal Kumar, including emerging as the women Numero Uno in April, 2015, winning a silver and bronze in World Championship besides finishing as the runner-up in All England.

Saina was the grateful student on arrival in Hyderabad. “I’m thankful to Vimal sir for helping me reach World No 1 in rankings and also helped me win two world championships medals and many SuperSeries titles,” Saina said.

It now remains to be seen in what capacity Gopichand will accommodate the London Olympic bronze medallist and the privileges she is likely to enjoy. In the intervening period, PV Sindhu has blossomed into a complete player.

As the new poster girl, the lanky Sindhu, who is now a Deputy Collector in Krishna district, has been winning titles more consistently than the Haryana native. Moreover, from one potential men champion in Parupalli Kashyap, the Academy now boasts of proven materials like Kidambi Srikanth, M Sai Praneeth and HS Prannoy.

Posted in: Sports

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