Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sports Star Guru Pullela GopiChand

Pullela Gopichand (born November 16, 1973) is a former Indian badminton player. He won the All England Open Badminton Championships in 2001 becoming the second Indian to achieve this feat after Prakash Padukone. Now, he runs the Gopichand Badminton Academy.

Pullela Gopichand was born on November 16, 1973 to Pullela Subash Chandra and Subbaravamma at Nagandla, Prakasam district, Andhra Pradesh . Initially, he was interested in playing cricket, but his elder brother encouraged him to take up badminton instead. He joined A. V. College, Hyderabad and graduated in public administration. He was the captain of the Indian combined universities badminton team in 1990 and 1991.

Gopichand was coached by S. M. Arif before Prakash Padukone accepted him at Prakash Padukone academy. He also trained under Ganguly Prasad at the SAI Bangalore. Gopichand won his first National Badminton Championship title in 1996, and went on to win the title five times in a row, until 2000. He won two gold and one silver at the Indian national games, 1998 held at Imphal. At the international level, he represented India in 3 Thomas Cup tournaments. In 1996 he won a gold in the SAARC badminton tournament at Vijayawada and defended the crown in the next games held at Colombo in 1997. At the 1998 Commonwealth Games, he won a silver in the team event and a bronze in men's singles. In 1999, he won the Toulouze open championship in France and the Scottish open championship in Scotland. He also emerged winner at the Asian satellite tournament held at Hyderabad in the same year, and lost in the final match of the German grand prix championship.

In 2001, he won the prestigious All England Open Badminton Championships at London. He defeated then world number one Peter Gade in the semi finals before defeating Chen Hong of China to lift the trophy. He became the second Indian to achieve the feat after Prakash Padukone, who won in 1980.

Gopichand founded the Gopichand badminton academy, a badminton training facility in Hyderabad, India. The facility trains several Indian badminton players including Saina Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap, P. V. Sindhu and Gurusai Datt.

Arjuna Award, 1999.
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, 2001
Padma Shri, 2005
Dronacharya Award, 2009

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