Hyderabad: In the twilight of his playing career, India's badminton star Pullela Gopichand has transformed from a student to a teacher. His academy now plans to produce a pool of badminton players from Andhra Pradesh, which will hopefully produce the country's next Gopichand. Sir Gopi The 50 boys and girls, who train with former All England Champion at the indoor stadium in Hyderabad, refer to Gopi as Sir Gopi. "I am also learning a lot of things because being a player is very different from being a coach. Here lot of other factors come into play like how they travel from home, what their food is and what their economic background is," says Gopichand. Gopi keeps a hawk's eye on these budding badminton stars. One false step and Gopi is at hand to sort it out. "Whenever we are tired, we usually hit the shuttle out. But now we are concentrating on rallies so that we can play for a longer time," says Guru Saidutt, badminton player. Useful tips It does not matter to these champions of tomorrow that Gopichand is not a trained coach. The kind of useful tips Gopi can pass on to these youngsters from his experience on the circuit, few in India can. Helping Gopi is Thomas John, formerly coach to the British badminton team. John, a Keralite who settled in the UK, in fact had helped Gopi in Birmingham in 2001, when he won the All England Championship. "Some of them have weak legs. We are going to focus on weight training. Some of them need to eat more while some of them need to lose weight. We are trying to identify all these things at an early stage," says John. With the Asian Badminton Confederation choosing Gopi's academy as an ABC training centre, Hyderabad's shuttlers will get a chance to train with the best players from South Asia.
Topics : Badminton