“I feel very positive about the next generation of players” – Parupalli Kashyap on India’s upcoming set of shuttlers [Exclusive]

20th Commonwealth Games - Day 11: Badminton
20th Commonwealth Games - Day 11: Badminton

Parupalli Kashyap, one of India's most notable badminton players, has transitioned from being an athlete to a mentor. He has been dedicating his expertise to grooming the next generation of badminton players.

As a former Commonwealth Games gold medalist and Olympian, Kashyap has garnered a great deal of knowledge in his years as an elite athlete. The 37-year-old is now using all this experience to help his students in his new role as a coach.

In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Kashyap shared insights into the future of Indian badminton and the challenges they face.

“We have very strong players coming up. Like Priyanshu [Rajawat], and from the next lot also, there are a couple of players doing very well. So, men singles, I am taking care of most of them right now. So, I feel very positive about the next generation of players,” he said.

His optimism reflected the potential he sees in the upcoming talents and his commitment to fostering their growth. Kashyap currently trains around 10 to 12 players at the renowned Gopichand Academy. The former Commonwealth Games medalist handles most of the training sessions with some insight from Pullela Gopichand himself.

"I have seen a lot of them at Gopichand Academy. Obviously with his [Pullela Gopichand] insight into the training schedule. But I am taking total control of them. And they are doing well recently," he said.

This blend of Gopichand's strategic input and Kashyap's hands-on coaching has already yielded impressive results. He proudly highlighted recent successes, saying:

"There was a challenger in Kazakhstan where my player won. I have been training [him] for the last three months. And another in Polish [international challenge] played the semi-finals [at the] challenge. And this [player] who won is Tharun [Mannepalli]. He is even the National Games winner. He has been doing well."

Kashyap also said that his immediate goal for his trainees is to participate in and win challenger and series events.

“My focus is that those set of players should play the challenger events. Win the challenger events. Series events,” he said.

This approach aims to provide his players with the necessary exposure and experience to excel on larger platforms.

“A lot of funding needs to be done for them” – Parupalli Kashyap on the financial challenges emerging shuttlers face

Badminton is an expensive sport, particularly for emerging shuttlers who are still establishing themselves and have yet to secure substantial sponsorships. The expense of traveling to tournaments around the globe is a significant financial burden that many players struggle to manage. Kashyap acknowledged the financial challenges involved in making a top shuttler.

“Obviously, a lot of funding needs to be done for them [the upcoming players]. At least for two years. They have to play all the events. These small events. Very expensive. But yeah, we are trying to sort that out," he explained.

Kashyap concluded by crediting Pullela Gopichand for having faith in him and letting him take the reins while coaching some of the upcoming shuttlers:

“I am very happy that Gopi sir gave me a free hand in coaching these guys. So, it's all fun,” Kashyap concluded.

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