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Sports can ensure communal harmony, says Pullela Gopichand

New Delhi: There is nothing better than sports to ensure communal harmony and this discipline of life unites the country like nothing else, Chief National badmintion coach Pullela Gopichand said on Saturday.

"For communal harmony there is nothing better than sports. Sports unite like nothing else does," the 2001 All England champion said. His comments come at a time when the country is witnessing an intense debate on tolerance of various kinds including on religious beliefs and eating habits.

The Padma Bhushan awardee, while speaking on the closure of the 8th All India Police Badminton champisonship here, also rued the fact that sportspersons do not get jobs and timely promotions in service which are a "major deterrent" and "demoralising" factors for young kids who want to opt for sports as their career.

Gopichand said it is very important for sportspersons to get jobs as they spend the "best years" of their lives playing and getting proper jobs and promotions is a "very important aspect" for them.

The shuttler also recounted that during his early playing days his mother used to write to various organisations as she wanted her son to get a job. He also urged, in the presence of Home Minister Rajnath Singh, that the Union Sports Ministry should be 'linked' with other ministries of Health, Home Affairs and Human Resource Development (HRD).

"Sports have much more to give us than medals....they give us health and human resource which is so very important (in life)," Gopichand said adding medals are the offshoot and not the primary reason for players.

The ace shuttler, who runs the Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad, said the country should build more sports stadiums so that less hospitals and medical colleges are required.

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