PV Sindhu: Tokyo drift not Gopichand rift prompted Gachibowli move

PV Sindhu clarified that the move away from the Gopichand Academy to a stadium was to get used to the conditions she could expect during the Tokyo Olympics.

By Naveen Peter ·

World badminton champion PV Sindhu has clarified that her move to train at the Gachibowli Stadium in Hyderabad was to get a feel of the playing conditions expected at the Tokyo Olympics and nothing more.

PV Sindhu, a Rio Olympics silver medallist, usually trains at the Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad. The national coach, Pulella Gopichand, has mentored Sindhu over the years and is credited for her immense success. But in recent times, Indian badminton player has trained at Jwala Gutta’s academy and last week, decided to move to Gachibowli, which is not a training centre.

PV Sindhu’s decision to train with her Korean coach Park Tae Sang at Gachibowli has raised eyebrows. But the Indian badminton star said everything was fine with mentor Pullela Gopichand and the move to Gachibowli was purely due to technical reasons.

“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,” Sindhu told the Times of India.

“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.”

All badminton Olympic hopefuls are expected to train at Gachibowli, and the shift in the venue was requested by national coach Pullela Gopichand himself.

Badminton matches during the Tokyo Olympics will be held at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza, a multisport complex which can seat 7,200 fans. The Gachibowli stadium can accommodate 5,000.

“The stadium is located close to the academy and, depending on training needs, players will train at the Gachibowli as well as at the Gopichand academy,” Gopichand told TOI.

The past few months have also seen questions raised on PV Sindhu’s relationship with the national coach Pulella Gopichand, especially after she decided to shift her base to England in the lead up to BWF’s Asian leg of events last month.

PV Sindhu, however, chose to deny any such claims. “I don’t see any differences with Gopichand. Everything is fine between us,” she said, adding that the news had upset her.

“I can’t control external forces. My job is to concentrate on my badminton and win medals for the country,” she stressed.

PV Sindhu will be in action next at the Swiss Open in March.