National badminton coach Pullela Gopichand opens up about on-court rivalry between Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu

National badminton coach Pullela Gopichand opens up about on-court rivalry between Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu

Hyderabad, May10:Pullela Gopichand does not mind the fierce on-court rivalry between two Olympic medalists Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu as long as it works as a tool of improvement for both the shuttlers.

“If it helps the performance get better, I am happy,” Gopichand said.

Saina and Sindhu were in action on Monday when they teamed up for their employers Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) in a doubles rubber at the 38th PSPB inter-unit badminton championship in Bangalore.

Although the PV Sindhu-Saina Nehwal pair went down fighting against doubles specialist pair of N Sikki Reddy and Aparna Balan, the handful of spectators present witnessed a rare partnership between the arch-rivals. Sindhu-Saina has earlier teamed up to play doubles in Uber Cup.

“Saina has had some good performances. She is on her way to recovery, hope she comes back stronger,” Gopi came to her former ward’s defence when asked about her poor form.

“We have the World Championships coming up. That will be a good tournament to win. Overall, we will have an Olympic medal activity. Every year, the World Championships and the All England will be the two most prized positions along with the other Super Series events.”

Having tasted bronze in London and a silver in Rio, Gopichand hoped Tokyo has better results in store for India. “There is still time. It’s been a tough journey till now and it will get more tougher because the benchmarks have gone higher. I hope that we will be able to achieve better results next time than what we did last time.”

Looking back at his journey with Sindhu, he said: “In 2010, I came back from the Asian Games, Sindhu barely managed to win Sub-junior Nationals. I realised I was not really focussing much on her. I asked her to turn up at 4.15 am so I get an hour with her.”

The Olympic medal is reward for six years of hardwork. “It’s that seven years of consistent effort, that conviction that has yielded the result. I am so grateful about it.”

Top