What you see -
Sport in India is usually synonymous with cricket alone. And that is why a world-class badminton academy stands out, for it has been built
in spite of the odds. Pullela Gopichand, the former All England Open Badminton Championship winner has tasted success yet again with the victories of his student Saina Nehwal. However, his love and dedication towards this sport, comes across best through his Gopichand's Academy
in Gachibowli, Hyderabad. The five-acre academy is developing beautifully and still has portions that would see completion shortly. It is being built on the lines of a sports village that would promote sports not just as a profession but also as a fun way to stay fit and spend time together. That is why it’s even turning out to be a place that working professionals could look towards for their corporate outings.
What you get -
Gopichand is quite clear on why he wanted to start such a sports village. He traveled throughout the world and was exposed to brilliant sports infrastructure. He missed it in India and therefore brought it upon himself to build such a dream.
As we tour the academy within the Hyderabad Sports Village we spot several Indian and international players practicing their smashes. We soon realize that this is the place they come to for training when world championships like the Yonex-Sunrise BWF World Championships are held in Hyderabad.
As the coach of the Indian badminton team, Gopichand is confident of India’s hidden talent in this sport and intends to therefore popularize it. And that is why he has left no requirement untouched through this academy. The three-storied building houses eight courts with top-notch facilities as per international norms, sprung wooden flooring with requisite lighting, changing rooms for players, well equipped gymnasium along with 15 rooms and two 12-bed dormitories for accommodation, all air-conditioned.
Physical fitness is ensured and so there is an athletic track, an upcoming swimming pool, weight training and of course yoga and meditation for mental rejuvenation. Emphasis is also placed on eating right and therefore there is a well-stocked cafeteria and a dietician for nutrition counseling.
The academy also encourages tournament matches for children with budding players taking part in the State and National championships. This serves as a talent search mechanism, believes Gopichand adding that one really needs to start young to understand the pulse of the game. Other than that, the academy also invites hobby players who just want to play and keep fit.
Gopichand also wishes to promote other sports through the Sports Village like table tennis and swimming and would bring in experts in those fields as well. Yoga, aerobics and meditation would be encouraged too.
Our verdict -
Families that are looking at ways to unwind apart from shopping at malls and catching up on a movie at a multiplex could definitely look at it as a healthy and fun alternative. And of course, those interested in sports as a career, need not look further for world-class training. With this Sports Village, Gopichand is certainly giving back to the nation, something it will be proud of.
Parking space is available.
Pic courtesy - Lakshmi Prabhala