Pullela Gopichand is a former Indian badminton ace who is best known for nurturing huge talents like Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and Parupali Kashyap. Gopichand came into the limelight in 2001 after winning the Badminton England Open, becoming only the second Indian to achieve this milestone after the legendary Prakash Padukone. Currently serving as the Head National Coach of the Indian National Badminton Team, Gopichand guided India to their first ever Thomas Cup win and created history.
As the legendary badminton player and coach celebrates his 48th birthday, let’s take a look at some lesser-known facts from his life:
- Born in a small village in Andhra Pradesh
Pullela Gopichand was born in a small town called Chirala in the Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh. His family then moved to Nizamabad, where he did his schooling, studying at St. Paul’s High School.
- Initially had interest in Cricket
Like most Indian teenagers, Gopichand was interested in the game of cricket and wanted to pursue a career in batting. However, his elder brother encouraged him to try badminton and put a racket in his hands, a decision that changed the scenario of Indian badminton.
- Won the World No. 1 title in 2001
Gopichand won the 2001 All England Badminton Open in Birmingham. He beat then world number one Peter Gade in the semi-finals before defeating China’s Chen Hong to win the coveted tournament.
- Gopichand family
On June 5, 2002, Gopichand married his girlfriend and longtime friend, P.V.V. with Lakshmi. The couple has two children. Their daughter is a budding badminton player and is following in her parents’ footsteps.
- Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy
In 2008, Gopichand founded the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy. The academy has produced several world-class badminton players and is the third-highest center in India.
- Rewards and rewards
For his tireless efforts in Indian badminton, Gopichand was awarded the Arjuna Award in 1999, the Dronacharya Award in 2009 and the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award, in 2014.
- Gopichand at the Olympics
Under Gopichand’s tutelage, Saina Nehwal won a bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics. He was again the coach of PV Sindhu, who went on to win a silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics and a bronze medal at the 2020 Pandemic Olympics. Pullela was also the coach of the Indian Olympic badminton team at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
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