World-class training facility for badminton in Hyderabad

Well designed: A training session in progress at Suchitra Academy in Secunderabad.  

What’s common to purple patches seen on the bodies of swimming colossus Michael Phelps, Olympic gymnast Alex Naddour and students of Secunderabad’s Suchitra Academy? Each swears by the efficacy of cupping therapy, an ancient Chinese treatment, which through a suction device, restores regular blood flow and relieves athletic aches, far faster than conventional methods.

The school leans heavily on science in its aim to produce world class shuttlers, its daily schedule so structured that players slip seamlessly from sports to studies. An accomplished physiotherapy wing often uses dry needling, a sports acupuncture system that releases knotted muscles, ice baths, sand training and a 4000 square foot gym.

“This is the first of its kind facility in India,” observed P.V. Sindhu, who formally inaugurated the scheme recently. “The coaching and fitness staff is world class. That this international standard facility came up without any government assistance is really impressive,” added the Rio Olympics silver medallist.

Player comfort

Holding pride of place is a factory shed turned lab now transformed into a state-of-the-art indoor badminton stadium with a carpet area of 12000 square feet. Fourteen LED strips shed 1000 Lux illumination, cloaked by anti-glare shades that don’t blind players even if they momentarily looked directly at them.

The seven courts’ flooring provides layers of protection especially for players’ heels and knees. A synthetic mat forms the surface, below which is spread grade A Canadian Maple inter-locking reapers. Under this is a tier of plywood, again bolstered by 3/4” wooden reapers. Rubber bushes form the lowest level, cushioning the jumps and falls to minimise injury.

A brainchild of siblings Praveen and Pradeep Raju, Pullela Gopichand’s contemporaries, the scheme’s driven by scientific, sports-centric features, their expertise gained from visits to badminton and tennis facilities world over. “Each shuttler, from admission itself, is individually assessed, his or her needs addressed separately. For every player’s physique is different,” Pradeep reasoned.

Foreign coaches

Indonesian coaches Yusuf Jauhari and Yonathan Suryatam Dasuki work in tandem with the physios and fitness/conditioning staff to increase or lighten training loads as are diets carefully charted. Yusuf mentored Atlanta and Athens Olympics silver medallist Mia Audina Tjiptawan, siblings Indra and Candra Wijaya, the latter an Olympic doubles champion.

Brother of Atik Jauhari, who brought about a sea change in Indian badminton coaching, Yusuf coached the Indonesian, Swedish and Malaysian national teams before joining the Prakash Padukone Academy. From there he was shifted to the Gopichand Academy in preparation for the Rio Olympics. Yonathan was world No. 14 in doubles.

Counselling sessions

Some 45 of 85 shuttlers, three of them from England and Germany, the remainder from 18 states, stay in the hostel. Divided into three groups, a ladder system enables them upgrade to higher or be relegated to lower levels, depending on their displays.

“Each month players receive psychological counselling, even with seasoned pros such as former doubles champion Shruti Kurien around to advise them,” said Praveen.

Principal Renuka Shorey ensures academics and badminton thrive in sylvan settings, over 650 trees adorning the 10 acre campus.

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Printable version | Jan 10, 2021 6:13:43 PM |

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