Tamil Nadu

Badminton academy opened in Salem

It was a dream come true for the entire sports fraternity of in the district in general, and badminton community in particular, with the setting up of an arm of the Hyderabad-based prestigious Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy (PGBA) in the city on Friday.

The legendary Pullela Gopichand, former All England Open Badminton Champion and chairman of the PGBA, himself was present and inaugurated the academy. Mr. Gopichand, the second Indian to win the All England Badminton Championship after Prakash Padukone, said that though he had over two-decade old contact with Salem city, he had no inclination of setting up the academy here.

It was the repeated requests from Prabakaran, an ace badminton player of Salem, who partnered Gopichand in the doubles event in various tournaments for about a decade, which made him concentrate on Salem.

Gopichand said that he wanted at least five courts, and the citizens took no time to set them up.

He was happy to see the wonderful infrastructure. Creating the needed infrastructure was not a tough job compared to producing class players. It was the committed hard work which will give the final results.

“With this kind of infrastructure of international standards, the academy will be able to deliver the goods,” he said.

Going down the memory lane, Gopichand said that his native Andhra Pradesh did not account for badminton talents when he started playing in 1985. The State used to crush out of inter-State tournaments in the initial rounds itself.

With hard work he could win the State championship, which gave him confidence to win laurels at national and international levels.

There should be good coordination between the coach, players, parents, academy, and administrators to produce outstanding talents.

The advantage of the academy here was the exchange programme.

The best performing players of Salem will be imparted specialised training at the headquarters at Hyderabad, he said much to the thumping of desks by a group of young players present at the venue.

Punnaiah Chowdary, secretary of the Badminton Association of India, commended Salem for getting such a good indoor stadium. The youngsters should take full advantage of the academy, he said.

Earlier, Gopichand was accorded a rousing reception when he arrived at the academy venue.

Budding players, including girls, in white sports uniform, lined up on road sides. The route was decorated with colourful festoons.

A chenda melam troupe of Kerala played famous tunes to accord a royal welcome to the ace badminton star.

Along with the budding players, a host of parents and coaches, and sports lovers mobbed Gopichand and vied with one another in taking a selfie, and exchanging greetings with him.

He enthralled the youngsters by displaying his favourite strokes in one of the courts to formally launch the academy.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2020 10:31:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/badminton-academy-opened-in-salem/article7385131.ece

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