The reigning men's national badminton champion, Pullela
Gopi Chand has become a more matured player over
the years. He is one of the few players in the world
who has a blend of aggressive stroke play and impressive
footwork. This agile player is capable of defeating
any player in the world. His game is electrifying to
watch. He is only next to Prakash Padukone in
terms of stardom.
ranked 7 in the world, his performances in international
tournaments are steadily improving and he continues
to enthral badminton fans all over the country.
He bagged the first Nationals when he
was just 17. His performance in the last eight years
was finally recognised by the Indian Government
when he was awarded the Arjuna Award on August
29, 2000. The award was a tribute to his hard work,
commitment and discipline to the game.
His success can be attributed to his former coach Syed
Mohammed Arif, who groomed the player in him. Gopi
holds his former coach in great respect because it was
Mohammed Arif who trained him to be the world-class
player he is today.
Some of his landmark achievements:
Bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games
Won the Scottish International Open at Edinburgh
Sterling performances in Malaysian Open and Uber Cup
Can you tell me about your experience in the Olympic
To participate in the Olympic Games was always my
priority. Being prepared was the most important thing.
It was tough. I gave my best.
You are termed an aggressive player?
Whether I am aggressive or not, it doesn't matter
until I keep winning.
Your current ranking is 7. When can we expect you
to be in the top 3?
I always had a dream to be in the top 15. Now, I'm
there. And I haven't stopped dreaming!
Can you tell me about the badminton scenario in
We have produced many players and we will keep producing.
Have you got something to say about the drug tests
conducted by the Olympics authorities?
It can happen to anyone. One has to be careful.
The main reason being, the players are less informed
about what they should eat and drink.
The Indian Petroleum Board has been instrumental
in sponsoring several Indian sportspersons…..
I agree with you. They are doing a good job. Once
you have more sponsors, more money and more coaches,
naturally the game improves.
How helpful has your former coach Syed Mohammad
Arif been in shaping your career and making you the
person you are today?
He was very helpful. In Hyderabad, he has trained
many good players. He is good.
How do you start your day?
I do yoga early in the morning and a bit of jogging.
I practice during the day. I have a fixed practice timetable.
I stick to it, wherever I go.
How soon do you get acclimatised when you visit
I get used soon. Over the years I've learned a few
things and I have adjusted better.
Do you miss spicy Andhra food when you are out of
I adjust to any type of food. I'm not fussy about
Your other interests…
I listen to music… any good music. When I get time,
I watch a few Telugu movies. I like the comedy films,