PV Sindhu is perhaps the most exceptional badminton player the nation has ever produced, and arguably the greatest sportsperson overall to have graced the national awards ceremony. Sindhu has garnered numerous accolades throughout the years, including the Padma Shree, Padma Bhushan, Arjuna, and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awards.
From 2009 to 2021, she dominated the badminton world, proving herself as the most challenging player to compete against. Sindhu’s natural aggression and speed, coupled with her height and shoulder strength, allowed her to use her basic smash and net game to defeat players from all corners of the globe with ease. She has earned 26 international medals, including two consecutive Olympic medals, five world championship medals, and five Commonwealth Games medals.
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Gopichand, her coach since she was ten years old, has played a significant role in Sindhu’s rise to stardom. Gopi recognized her potential early on and instilled in her the determination, hard work, and ambition required to become a world-class player. Sindhu’s association with Gopi ended in 2019 when she switched to Kim Ji Hyun of Korea, but this combination brought tremendous success to Indian badminton and made Sindhu incredibly wealthy.
However, their relationship appears to have soured, as statements made by Sindhu’s father Ramanna indicate that all is not well. Ramanna has claimed that Gopi has not shown much interest in Sindhu since the 2018 Asian Games and has not provided a good practice partner for her.
Sindhu has moved to a new coach, Park Tae Sang, and left Gopi’s academy. Although Gopi has not reacted to these statements, he undoubtedly feels hurt. He has worked with Sindhu since she was a young girl, knows everything about her game, and understands her psychology and mental toughness.
In recent months, Sindhu has struggled to find her form, suffering early defeats to very mediocre opponents. She has lost her signature aggressive style, and her mental focus appears to be waning.
Former champions and coaches believe that Sindhu can regain her form with the right guidance and by playing to her strengths. Gopi knows Sindhu’s game inside out, including her mental toughness and weaknesses, and is the one person who can bring her back on track.
The Badminton Association of India’s president must use his influence to bring Gopi and Sindhu together for national glory. The combination of Gopi and Sindhu may bring Indian badminton back to the forefront and pave the way for a return to international dominance.
It is time for Gopi and Sindhu to let bygones be bygones and work towards a common goal. For India’s sake, let us hope they put their differences aside and resume their partnership for the greater good of the nation.
As the poet once said, “Zindagi ko kuch is tarah aasan bans Diya, Kisi se muaffi mang li, kisi ko muaff kar Diya,” (Life is made easier by seeking and granting forgiveness). Let us hope that Gopi and Sindhu can reconcile and work together for the betterment of Indian badminton.