Pullela Gopichand: Under whose wings many children are groomed

Renu Baliyan, New Delhi, Nov 14: To call him a modern-day Dronacharya won’t be an exaggeration. He has molded many kids from a lump of clay who have broken shackles and shuttled their way up to the top. But it is easier said than done.

Pullela Gopichand has emerged as the godfather of Indian badminton. Pullela lifted the  All Indian Badminton Championship as a player in 2001. The star of Badminton also helped in setting up an academy which gave India world class players such as P V Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap. 

However, it was not a smooth ride at all for Pullela as he had his own set of ups and downs. Gopichand recalls how he had to even mortgage his family properties to establish the sports academy in the year 2003. 
Pullela once said, “Till now, there are no regrets in my life and I am satisfied with what I have done and what I have achieved. I am very happy for the present badminton international players including PV Sindhu, Kashyap, who have joined my academy at the age of eight and sixteen years in 2004 and setting new records at international levels.”
The biggest success mantra of the famous sportsperson in his own words is, “Be self-confident and work hard to achieve the goals.”
Pullela was born in a family that had humble means but placed a premium on values and discipline in life. Unlike other kids who spent their time in watching TV, films and enjoying with their friends, the shining star of Badminton fraternity spent a large part of his life in playing badminton or thinking about excelling in his favourite sports. 
The sportsperson at the tender age of just 11 was highly passionate to win and possessed amazing ability to work extremely hard at his craft. 
Pullela always followed a strict routine and adhered to regular sleeping habits at home which made sure that he was the first one to arrive for his practice session at 5:30 in the morning. He used to come half an hour earlier than his other team mates to ensure that got more time at the academy. Similarly, when practice session used to end, his passion to excel would make him indulge in some more physical exercises and practices.
During his initial years, Gopi faced struggle to have enough shuttlecocks to play and often he would have to control or curtail hitting his favourite jump smash.
Even Gopi's family also struggled to help him achieve his biggest dream. The sportsperson's mother ended up walking for kilometres to avoid public transport that helped her save money which was used to buy her son a shuttle cock. 
When Pullela began his journey to the top echelons of the Indian badminton scene, his family endured a lot of hardships and sacrifices.
With his hard work and sheer dedication, Pullela has emerged a role model for scored of children all over the world.