Pullela Gopichand: The World Beneath His Feat
Sanjay and Shachi Sharma
Rs 495 pp 344
Badminton found its way to Indian bookshelves in the form of Prakash Padukones 2006 biography, Touchplay. Thirty-two years after Padukone won the All England Open Badminton Championships in 1980, and 11 years after Pullela Gopichand became the second Indian to win the tournament, we finally have Pullela Gopichand: The World Beneath His Feat.
Written by Shachi Sharma and former international player Sanjay Sharma, the book traces Gopichands life before he sprang into the spotlight in 2001. A mischievous Gopi, we are told, broke windowpanes of neighbourhood houses with a cricket ball. His early sporting years, like nearly every other sportsman, was a challenge, with his family saving money so that Gopi could go about smashing drop-shots out of his opponents. In life, Gopi always stood by what he thought was correct, refusing to endorse Coca Cola (and losing R15 lakh in the process) because he thought the product was not healthy.
Though he credits the many coaches he had in Hyderabad and Bangalore, Gopi evolved as a player with his own signature. He would always put in more effort than what was being asked of him. Loss, even at domestic events, was unacceptable.
Gopis journey at the 2001 All England Championship is chronicled so vividly in this book, you would feel as if youre watching the match on TV. Along with Leroy DSa, then national coach, Gopi dissects every point earned in the tournament to convey what it meant to be the champion. An inspiring account.