MP: Foreign coaches a must for Indian badminton, says Saina Nehwal

  • Yogendra Pratap Singh and M Poornima, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Dec 23, 2014 22:37 IST

London Olympic bronze medalist Saina Nehwal feels badminton players in the country need foreign coaches for better grooming to contest against countries like China.

Saina, who was in Bhopal to attend Khel Alankaran Samroh on Tuesday, advocated hiring of foreign coaches at least for top Indian badminton players.

Talking to HT, the world number-4 shuttler said that there were only two recognised international Indian coaches in world badminton — Vimal Kumar and P Gopichand — and there are too many players vying for their attention. She said one of the major reasons why she left Gopichand Academy was his inability to spare her enough time with many trainees to attend to.

Saina, however, refuted that there was any dispute between her and Gopichand, making her to leave Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad and shift to Padukone Academy in Bengaluru. "I have no issues with him. I respect him. I have learnt a lot from him. But, as I told you, he has to attend to many players like me and was not able to give enough time to me, this was the reason I decided to train with Vimal," she said.

She added that there was nothing wrong in hiring foreign coaches.

"In China there are separate coaches for each international player and those coaches give proper attention to their players. Here, we have only two top class coaches and they have so many players like me to train," the ace shuttler said.

"Still, we are giving them tough competitions. If we have foreign coaches, we would learn new tactics and skills and will be able to properly fight the foreign players," Saina said.

Earlier, renowned badminton player and chief national coach, Pullela Gopichandhad also requested Badminton Association of India (BAI) to appoint foreign coaches. But, nothing was done. The BAI, however, appoints foreign coaches for short duration but only for doubles' players and not for singles' players.

Will continue training under Vimal Kumar till Rio Olympic-2016

This is not the first time that Saina and P Gopichand — the most successful player and coach pair of Indian badminton — split.

In year 2011, Saina had decided to train with Baskar Babu but she later returned to Gopichand after three months and she won bronze medal in London Olympic under Gopichand.

After her recent split with Gopichand, it was speculated that she might come back to Gopichand Academy for Rio Olympics, 2016. But, this time Saina has made it clear that she would continue her training with Vimal Kumar till Rio Olympic-2016.

"I have recently won China Open, which is one of the toughest championship of the world and every player wants to win. I am improving under Vimal. We are working on new strategy and techniques for upcoming tournaments. As of now, I have no plan to shift. I would like to continue with him till Rio Olympics," she said.

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