Rio Olympics 2016: Pullela Gopichand urges shuttlers to stay away from distractions in the Olympic village
Pullela Gopichand has seen everything there is to see in Indian badminton, both as a player as well as a coach. During his former days, he was considered among the best shuttlers in the country and once he turned to coaching following his retirement from the game, he helped nurture several champions who helped India get glory on the global stage.
As he gets set to send another of shuttlers to the Olympic Games, The former All England champion has just one message for them: go with a clear mind, stay focused, keep a healthy body and seize the chances with both hands.
In Londoin 2012, Gopi was in London to see Saina Nehwal win the bronze medal and admits unlike then, there are a few more contender for a medal at this edition of the Games.
“This Olympics is different for me as a coach given the fact that we have a few of them who are real medal prospects unlike in the London Games where there were only a couple of them and here I must mention the immense contribution of physio Kiran who has been with us for the last seven years,” The player-turned-coach said.
Dwelling a bit more on what it takes to stand on the dpodium at the Summer Games, Gopi said that one of the primary objectives for the players would be to shut off all distractions and recalled the experience of his maiden Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000.
“I remember in my first Olympics (2000 in Sydney) when a lot of big stars were showing a lot of interest in petty things like pins, souvenirs, getting carried away by the aura of the Games Village where you see some of the greatest athletes walking around. Even the huge dining hall in the Games Village is a big distraction because of the varieties served there.
“So, I sincerely advise this squad to stay away from all distractions including social networking sites at least during Olympics. They can really be a major hindrance in staying focused, especially, if you are an extrovert and trying to share your ‘moments’ on these sites,” he said.
Talking about the preprations of the shuttler for the Games, the 44-year-old appreciated the hard work put in by all the shuttlers and added that Olympic debuatants like PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth know how to handle the pressure in such a big event.
“As far training programmes are concerned, they are spot on. I am glad that each one of them is really putting in lot of hard work. They are all definitely very focused and working on lot of things to get the desired results. Those who are making their Olympics debut are also experienced enough to handle the pressure and aura of such an event,” he concluded.