In an exclusive interview with TOI, Sindhu, 25, spoke about her equation with chief national coach Pullela Gopichand, the decision to shift her practice base from the Gopichand academy to Gachibowli badminton halls with the focus on Tokyo Olympics and the rumours surrounding her infamous split with Gopichand after dashing off to England in October last year.
The Rio Olympics silver medallist and 2019 World Championship gold medallist also touched upon the subject of rift with her family, expressing her anguish over the way it was reported in certain sections of the media. Sindhu said the episode left her “deeply hurt and upset”.
“I’ll be practising at the Gachibowli indoor stadium with my South Korean coach Park Tae Sang till the Tokyo Olympics and not at the Gopichand academy. Having said that, nothing much should be read between my decision to train at the indoor badminton halls.
“There shouldn’t be any comparison between the facilities available at the two venues. I had requested the Badminton Association of India (BAI) and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) for the same and the permission was granted to me. I have heard that the doubles players would also be training at the Gachibowli for the Olympics,” Sindhu informed.
“The indoor arena size is of international standards. It’s similar to that of the badminton venue at the Tokyo Olympics and what we generally experience during international tournaments. It’s important to understand the familiarity of the venue and stimulate such conditions at home.
“Also, the AC blowers are a major factor for ‘drift’ inside the playing venue. Getting used to the drift because of the effect blowers will have on the shuttlecock will help us at the Olympics. Most of the academies in Hyderabad don’t have the blowers, so we miss understanding the drift. Here, at the Gachibowli indoor arena, you can master the drift factor,” she explained.
Sindhu refuted any rift with the coach.
“I don’t have any differences with Gopichand. Everything is fine between us.”
In fact, it was on Gopichand’s request that the Gachibowli badminton halls were made available for practice to national camp players preparing for the Olympics and qualification tournaments.
A letter dated February 12 from the Sports Authority of Telangana State (SATS) granting the permission for the same to Gopichand is in TOI’s possession.
Gopichand told TOI: “I thank the Telangana government for allotting the Gachibowli badminton courts for training of top national players who are preparing for the Olympic qualification tournaments and Olympics. This will help the players train inside a large facility to get used to the Olympic venue.”