As the nation basks in the glory of PV Sindhu’s recent bronze win in the Badminton World Championship, another badminton champion from India, Saina Nehwal chose to take a path less travelled.
Saina, the London Olympic bronze medallist, has decided to move to Bangalore to train with former India coach Vimal Kumar, just two weeks before the Asian Games kick off. The former World No. 2 had reportedly received good inputs from Vimal Kumar during her impressive Uber Cup performance and wanted to build on the same.
It is likely that her need to meet and surpass her Olympic bronze level performance led her to evaluate her coaching options. While Saina’s defeat in the quarterfinals of the Denmark championship could be considered as per her ranking , like a true champion she does not seem to be content in making up the Top 8 numbers at World Level.
This is not the first time that Saina has moved away from Pullela Gopi Chands coaching. In 2011, Saina switched her coach and went to train under Bhaskar Babu but came back within three months. Later, she said that she regretted taking that decision and thanked Gopichand for helping her clinch the Olympic bronze in 2012.
Confirming this, she said, “Yes, I will be leaving for Banglore tomorrow. I want to train under Vimal Kumar Sir. His tips turned out to be quite helpful during the Uber Cup. But after the Asian Games, I will be coming back here and try to train with him (Gopi). Hopefully, it will help me. I told Gopi Sir during the World Championships and he asked me to go ahead.”
Saina has achieved a lot under Gopichand since she moved under his umbrella in 2006, the greatest of which was to become the only Indian to win an individual Olympic medal in Badminton. However the future beckons and a set of young and upcoming womens players means that Saina will need to rediscover her own groove to counter them effectively.
Like a true champion, Saina has set the target of an Asian Games medal as the driver for this change.
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