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The Indian badminton scenario has undergone a dramatic change in the last few years. Indian players' dominance on the world stage stands testimony to the fact that the subcontinent has emerged as a badminton powerhouse on the global arena. And to continue this up charge India needs to do a lot more not just in the development programmes at grassroots level but in the field of coaching as well. Badminton Gurukul, an initiative by badminton superstar and guru Pullela Gopichand and former international shuttler Supriya Devgun, is trying to address that and more.
Badminton Gurukul, in partnership with the Tata Group and associate partners TVS Logistics Group, has set up 28 training centres in 14 cities across India where 1000+ students are undergoing training under 20 former national and international badminton stars. The simple premise is to bring on board the best coaching talent in the country and set up a structured and systematic programme to provide youngsters the opportunity to learn a sport and ingrain a healthy lifestyle.
Talking about the initiative during a press conference in Mumbai on Thursday, Pullela Gopichand, who is also the Mentor, Founder and Director of Badminton Gurukul said, "With the kind of results we've had in the international arena, and the unexpected boom badminton has seen in the last few years, a lot of badminton courts have come up and consequently there is an increased requirement for quality badminton coaches across the country. Keeping all this in mind, Badminton Gurukul has come up with this unique knowledge sharing forum where we are involving the ex-players to come forward and share their experience with the young and upcoming shuttlers. This is not just coaching, but many steps ahead of that. These players have experienced elite coaching programmes first hand and played at the highest level to understand the hard work and rigour required to succeed at the top level. This is an excellent combination and I am sure it will improve the quality of coaching across India and will lead to a greater talent pool across the country."
The former India international, who is also a Founder and Managing Director of Badminton Gurukul, Supriya touched many hearts when she said, "With Badminton Gurukul, we are trying to restore dignity and respect for our coaches, give a second wing career for our ex-achievers, put together high quality professionally-run events, standardise operations and bring in a curriculum, and with all these, we are trying to institutionalize the sport. Through Badminton Gurukul, we are trying to make sport a way of life and teach our kids to look beyond medals. For us, the success parameter is not the amount of money one earns, it is the number of lives we touch, whether by teaching you sport or by bringing you back to the sport as an administrator or as a coach, for us that is success. Through Badminton Gurukul, we want to achieve that."
Talking about the Tata group's partnership with Badminton Gurukul, Brand Custodian, Tata Sons, Harish Bhat, said, "We are delighted to partner with Badminton Gurukul, an initiative that will bring together the best coaching talent in the country on one platform and help youngsters to pursue and excel in the sport through a structured and systematic programme. For nearly a century, the Tata group has been committed to developing the Indian sports landscape and has supported sportspersons across disciplines. We believe that sports has the potential to act as a catalyst for positive social change and plays an important role in building a healthy and inclusive society."
Ravikumar Swaminathan, vice-chairman of TVS Logistics Group, associate partners of Badminton Gurukul, added: "At TVS, we understand the importance of corporate support for sports and sportspersons, and we found that in complete sync with the Badminton Gurukul initiative. It is not only helping the growth of the sport in the country but also helping the sportsperson grow. It gives us immense pleasure to be associated with this initiative as badminton is one of the most loved sports in the country and our badminton stars are adored by all."