World No 10 men's shuttler says Nehwal was a role model to all trainees at the Gopichand Academy
It's almost a year since World No 2 shuttler Saina Nehwal decided to split with her mentor and national chief coach Pullela Gopichand in Hyderabad to train under former India coach U Vimal Kumar in Bangalore, but her absence is still felt at the Gopichand Academy. World No 10 Parupalli Kashyap says Saina was a role model to all trainees at the Gopichand Academy.
Parupalli Kashyap during an Olympic Gold Quest press event held at the Bajaj Bhavan in the city yesterday. Pic/Bipin Kokate
'Inspired by Saina'
"Although I am been senior to her in the sport, personally, I have always been inspired looking at Saina train and play. Her achievements speak volumes of her hardwork and dedication. I definitely miss her at the academy. I'm sure most of the other trainees too miss her. Her work ethic always motivated me," said Kashyap on the sidelines of an event organised by Olympic Gold Quest, a non-profit organisation that supports him alongwith another 64 Indian athletes, junior and senior, with the ultimate aim of winning an Olympic medal.
Credit to the system
The 28-year-old Hyderabadi shuttler, who beat reigning World No 1 Chen Long 14-21, 21-17, 21-14 in the quarter-finals of the Indonesia Open Super Series event recently, credited the positive changes in the system for the rise of men's singles players like Kidambi Srikanth (World No 3) and HS Prannoy (World No 12) at the international stage.
"Earlier, sparring (practising with top players) was an issue since each player was training with their respective coaches, but now India's top players train together at national camps. It has brought in a lot of competitive spirit among the players. Even during training matches, we aim to beat each other and this has brought in positive results, with almost six male shuttlers now ranked inside the top 50," added the London Olympics quarter-finalist.