Praising the badminton academy run by former All England champion Pullela Gopichand in Hyderabad, former international shuttler Uday Pawar on Saturday called for more such well-supported academies to be set up in other parts of the country.
"Gopichand Academy, in south, is doing very well and also enjoys good support from the government and corporates. But we need to have more such academies with good backing in other parts of the country too," said Pawar in an interaction with reporters at Goregaon Sports Club.
Pawar, who conducted a short badminton clinic for the members of the Sports Journalists Association of Mumbai, said that Indian players over the years were known for their racquet skills and supple wrist play.
"From the days of Nandu Natekar and Suresh Goel we have been known for our skilful and deceptive wristy play. Indonesian great Rudy Hartono revolutionised the game with his half smash, smash and jump smash before the Chinese took the game to another level with their speed and power," noted the former four-time men's doubles national champion.
"We may be very skillful but to match the Chinese, we need to be at least 85 per cent as fit as they are," said Pawar, who had turned to coaching after his playing days during which he had represented the country in Asian Games and Thomas Cup.
Pawar said he had gained from playing at home against top international shuttlers, apart from legendary compatriots like Prakash Padukone, and wanted the badminton authorities to ensure this happened on a regular basis for the current crop.