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When Saina Nehwal didn’t know who Prakash Padukone was!

Updated on: 23 April,2023 07:28 AM IST  |  Hyderabad
N Jagannath Das |

Saina spoke about starting to play professional badminton during the inauguration of the Kotak-Gopichand badminton training centre

When Saina Nehwal didn’t know who Prakash Padukone was!

Saina Nehwal. Pic/Getty Images

"I didn’t know who Prakash Padukone was. I was more interested in cricket or hockey. I wanted to become a doctor as my father (Harvir Singh) was a scientist,’’ revealed Saina Nehwal, the 2012 London Olympic bronze medallist, during the inauguration of the Kotak-Gopichand badminton training centre at Gachibowli here on Saturday.

Nehwal said it was her father’s friend who asked her to try her hand in badminton. She began to play the game, but she was still apprehensive over whether she could succeed as till then, there was no champion in Olympics or the Worlds. “But when Gopichand won the All-England Championship [in 2001], I got the belief we can do it in badminton.’’

Prakash PadukonePrakash Padukone

Praising Gopichand as a coach, Saina said: “He would call us in the night and we had to listen to him. Then, get up in the morning. It was unbearable. We didn’t realise how important it was then. We gave only 10 per cent and won many international titles. Today India has produced many champion international players,’’ concluded Saina.

Meanwhile, Parupalli Kashyap said: “He basically changed the mindset of the players. By the time players like Kidambi Srikanth, [HS] Prannoy and Sai Praneeth came, India was slowly and steadily doing well in badminton. We were all desperate to learn from Gopi anna.’’

Also Read: I have always been a fighter: Saina Nehwal

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