In a major development, India's National Badminton Coach Pullela Gopichand has been given an honorable mention at the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Coaches Lifetime Achievement Awards 2019. The IOC Coaches Lifetime Achievement recognises coaches who have dedicated their lives to training athletes for the Olympic Games.
After winning the All England Badminton Championship in 2001, Gopichand has been renowned for coaching major stars in the country. The ace coach received the mention in the male category of the awards.
"The panel wishes to recognize his efforts in the development of Badminton in India, his efforts in supporting athletes across sports and his contribution to the Olympic Movement," the IOC said in an official statement.
Gopichand has been previously honored with the prestigious Dronacharya Award and has also received Padma Bhushan - India's third-highest civilian award. He has been instrumental in shaping the careers of Badminton prodigies Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth.
Gopichand, who won the All England title in 2001 despite lack of resources, has transitioned into a successful coaching career and produced two Olympic medallists for the country. According to sources, the National Badminton Coach said it was a huge honour to be recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Veteran Tennis player Leander Paes said that the sports in India need people like former cricketer Rahul Dravid and former badminton player Pullela Gopichand, citing their contribution is producing young talent in their respective sports after retiring.
Speaking ahead of the Maharashtra Open, Paes said that he has tremendous respect for players like Rahul Dravid, Pullela Gopichand who have trained a younger generation to the highest level.
The 46-year-old National Badminton Coach said the experience of competing in KIYG will help young shuttlers immensely.
"An event like Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG) which has all the sports together gives a great exposure to athletes. It's something I am very happy about. And in general, the Khelo India programme, whether it's the scholarships or the accredited academies, helps in portraying a positive picture for sport," he said. Gopichand said the experience of competing in KIYG will help young shuttlers immensely.