Pullela Gopichand is a former Indian badminton player. Currently, he is the Chief National Coach for the Indian Badminton team and runs the Gopichand Badminton Academy. He has mentored champions including the 2016 Rio Olympics Silver medallist, PV Sindhu and 2012 London Olympics Bronze medallist, Saina Nehwal, amongst others.
After winning his first National Badminton Championship title in 1996, Gopichand won the title five times in a row. He won two golds and one silver medal at the Indian National Games in 1998. In 1996, he won gold in the SAARC badminton tournament and defended the crown in the next games held at Colombo in 1997. At the 1998 Commonwealth Games, he won a silver medal in the team event and a bronze in men’s singles. He won the All England Open Badminton Championships in 2001, becoming the second Indian to achieve this after Prakash Padukone.
After retiring from playing, Gopichand founded the Gopichand Badminton Academy in 2008. The academy has produced several badminton players including Saina Nehwal who went on to win the bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics and PV Sindhu who won the silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Gopichand also served as the official Indian Badminton Team coach at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Pullela Gopichand has received both the Padma Shri in 2005 and the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award, in 2014.
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