Coach Gopichand speaks on split with Saina Nehwal

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File photo: Gopi and Saina
Bangalore, Oct 16: Indian badminton's chief national coach Pullela Gopichand today spoke about his split with star player Saina Nehwal.

2012 Olympic bronze medallist Saina shocked players and fans, in September, ahead of the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, when she decided to move to Prakash Padukone Academy in Bangalore to train under Vimal Kumar.

Having learnt her skills and excelled under Gopichand's guidance in Hyderabad for over a decade, Saina's sudden split with her coach was one of the most talked about in the sport.

Saina had said that Gopichand had very little time for her and she had to make the change.

"At the World Championships, I felt I was very slow. My movements were weak, there were no strokes and I told Gopi sir this. Obviously with another academy coming up and so many players it's not easy to focus on me. I am being open and saying the time given to me was less," Saina said recently about the split.

On Thursday, speaking to "Headlines Today" news channel, Gopichand did not go into the details on what caused the split. He did admit that she was "very dear" to him and wanted to see her win many more medals for India.

"It is important that the players are in good frames of mind. By assessing the scenario (split with Saina) now will not be doing justice to her," Gopichand told the news channel.

"I am happy she is working hard. I hope she wins many more medals for the country," he added.

"I leave it at that, We have a lot of excitement in Indian badminton. It is time to look up to Rio (Olympics 2016). We need to look at how to build the team," the former All-England champion said.

When asked whether he would coach Saina again if she comes back, he was non-commital and said, "I have coached Saina since 2004. She is very dear to me. She has huge potential. It is important she does well."

Also on the channel was Vimal, who said, "It was her (Saina) decision (to change the coach). At the moment she is enjoying the (training) sessions."

Saina is currently playing the Denmark Open. At the recently concluded Asian Games in Incheon, Saina was seen taking instructions from Vimal though Gopichand was also at the court-side being the national coach.

OneIndia News

Story first published: Thursday, October 16, 2014, 20:12 [IST]
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