Hyderabad:The year 2002 will be an important year for Pullela Gopichand. In March, he will travel to London to defend his All-England title. But Gopi did not end what was a great year on the right note. He is now recovering from a fracture in his ankle that he suffered before the Copenhagen Masters in December. It will keep him out of action for two weeks. The sportsperson of 2001 is these days baby-sitting his three-month-old niece at his home in Hyderabad. The fracture has put the All-England champion out of action for some time. Playing the Copenhagen Masters in December with the fracture aggravated the injury and only an x-ray after his return to India revealed how serious it was. "I had this injury during my training at Milton Keynes. And I had to play this tournament at the Copenhagen masters. So I just rested a bit, hoping it will go off. But then it turned out it was a fracture," said the champion. Though 2001 was a spectacular year for Gopi with the All-England title, other prestigious international titles remained elusive. "I had chances at the World Championship, for example, where I could have gone a bit farther. I lost in the quarters. But I also had to deal with things like the change in the format of the game, and I have also been troubled with injuries and I have not really been able to train as hard as I would have loved to," reasoned Gopi. With the Nationals getting underway in Lucknow from Saturday, Indian badminton, in Gopi's absence, will have a new National champion. That's a title Gopi, who has been the national champ since 1997, will most certainly miss.
Topics : Badminton