London Olympics 2012: Winning a medal in badminton in the Olympics is huge, says Gopi Chand

first_imgCoach Pullela Gopi Chand was unable to win an Olympic medal himself but on Saturday realised a dream as his ward Saina Nehwal clinched a historic bronze in London.”It has been a long journey for Saina. It still seems like yesterday she had lost the quarter-final in Beijing and here she is today with a bronze medal for herself and the country,” Gopi told Mail Today.Showing almost no sign of emotion, Gopi was extremely happy that a sport which he has been associated with for almost two decade has got the ultimate glory.”It’s incredible. Winning a medal in badminton in the Olympics is huge and Saina has put in very good effort,” he said.Asked about the conversation he had with Saina after her loss in the semi-finals to Wang Yihan, the proud coach said: “I told her all was not lost and she should focus on the bronze medal playoff. Today, the entire nation can celebrate the success.”At a time when in almost every sport at home there is a clamour for foreign coaches, Saina has stuck with Gopi. “It’s a very special relationship with Saina. We have been working together for years and from Beijing to here, it has been a long journey. There are several areas we worked together on though it’s well known now how she has laboured on her fitness and speed,” said Gopi.So, would badminton become more popular thanks to Saina? “I would be most happy if Saina’s medal  can spur on the youngsters, and a whole new generation. There has to be belief that we Indians can do it and more parents should push their children into this sport,” added Gopi.advertisementIn his view, Saina still has a lot more to achieve. “She is still young and has many more tournaments to play this year. But looking ahead, with an Olympic medal to boast of, she can look at those events where she has not done well,” he said.The Asian Games and All England Championship should figure in that list.last_img

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