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  5. Saina Nehwal reunites with Pullela Gopichand, ends association with coach Vimal Kumar

Saina Nehwal reunites with Pullela Gopichand, ends association with coach Vimal Kumar

Saina Nehwal had left Pullela Gopichand's academy in 2014 and shifted base to Bangalore in her quest to get back to the top of the rankings.

Written by: India TV Sports Desk, New Delhi [ Updated: September 04, 2017 21:10 IST ]
A file image of Saina Nehwal.Photo:PTI

India badminton star Saina Nehwal on Monday announced her split with coach Vimal Kumar and said she will re-unite with former coach Pullela Gopichand. Saina had a three-year stint with Vimal Kumar, a period where she won two World Championships medals, attained the No.1 spot in rankings and won many Super Series titles. Saina, who won the bronze medal in the 2017 World Badminton Championships, announced her decision on Twitter. 

"For a while I’ve been thinking about moving my training base back to the Gopichand academy and I had a discussion about this with Gopi sir and I am really thankful to him for agreeing to help me again. At this stage in my career I think he can help me achieve my goals," Saina tweeted. 

"I'm also very thankful to Vimal sir for helping me for the last three years. He helped reach world no.1 in the rankings. And also helped me win two world championships medal silver in 2015 and bronze in 2017 along with many super series titles. I m very happy to b back home and train in Hyderabad. keep supporting friends," she added.

Saina had left Gopichand's academy in 2014 and shifted base to Bangalore in her quest to get back to the top of the rankings. 

Saina returning to Hyderabad has more to do with Mulyo Handoyo, best known for coaching Indonesian legend Taufik Hidayat, who was appointed as a singles coach early this year by the Badminton Association of India (BAI). 

Under Mulyo, India has achieved unprecedented success with P V Sindhu returning with a World Championship silver besides winning the India Super Series. Kidambi Srikanth also clinched back-to-back titles at Indonesia and Australia, while B Sai Praneeth won his maiden Super Series at Singapore. 

"Saina on her return from the World Championships, asked my opinion on her working with the Indonesian coach, Mr Mulyo, brought in by Sports Authority of India, for looking after the singles players in National camps," Vimal said. 

"He is attached with Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad. I had indicated to her that there is no harm at all in her giving it a try," he added. 

Vimal said Saina will start training at Gopichand academy after recovering from the injury and it is important to provide every opportunity to the Indian to improve and achieve more laurels for the country. 

"Players have a short span at the top and will always be looking at ways to get better. Saina and Sindhu are special girls and if they are able to get even better, we should provide them those opportunities," Vimal said. 

"Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy and Gopichand Badminton Academy are recognised training centers of SAI and we at PPBA supported Saina when she needed." 

Saina, 27, had split with Gopichand ahead of the 2014 Asian Games at Incheon, deciding to hone her skills under Vimal in Bangalore. 

"I'm also very thankful to Vimal sir for helping me for the last three years. He helped reach world no.1 in the rankings and also helped me win two world championships medal silver in 2015 and bronze in 2017 along with many super series title," Saina tweeted. 

Saina had maintained a distance from Gopichand after parting ways with him following a quarterfinal exit at the 2014 World Badminton Championships in Denmark. But that was not the first time that the duo had split. 

In 2011, Saina started training with Baskar Babu but within three months returned to Gopichand, regretting her decision.

(With PTI inputs)

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