Sindhu moves out of Gopichand Academy, to train at Gachibowli

By Navneet Singh
New Delhi, Feb 13 (IANS) To prepare for psychological firepower with her opponents, Olympic Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu will be training at the Gachibowli Stadium in Hyderabad from Tuesday, after moving out of the city’s Pullela Gopichand Academy, says her father.

PV Ramana, a former international volleyball player, clarified that a change in the training venue is only for psychological reasons as Gachibowli Stadium provides that feeling of playing at a world class venue, and not because of any disagreement with Gopichand.

“She hasn’t split with Gopichand, but wants to train in an ambience that gives her a feel as if she is training in an Olympic arena. The change of venue is with the approval of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and in coordination with the Badminton Association of India (BAI),” Ramana, an Arjuna Award winner, told IANS.

Sindhu, 25, hasn’t qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games so far, but is close to securing the berth. In her quest to achieve a podium finish at the Olympics this July-August, she will train under the Korean coach Park Tae Sang from Tuesday.

Sang took over the job of training Sindhu after another Korean expert, Kim Ji Hyun, quit in September 2019.

While denying a rift between Sindhu and Gopichand, whose Hyderabad’s academy has been the venue for her Olympic preparation in the past, Ramana said the shift in the venue is more to do with an eye on major competitions in the future.

Regarding the sparring partners for Sindhu, Ramana said it would depend on who the Korean expert wants. “He [Sang] will take a call on that issue,” he said.

Last year, Sindhu dashed off to England for nearly three months, sparking speculation that she had split with Gopichand. She returned to competition for the Thailand Open in January in Bangkok, but she couldn’t progress beyond the quarterfinal stage. Her not-so-encouraging performance in Thailand Open was followed by another disappointing show as she lost at the group stage of the World Tour Finals, also held at the same venue.

On Sindhu’s current fitness, Ramana said: “Her fitness is okay. She is training in the pool. She is also going to gym twice a week.”

A coach associated with Gopichand Academy recalled how Sindhu prepared for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“She could do 400m repetitions in 60-62 seconds once a week. She did dead lifts and half squats with more than 100kg during the gym workouts. Now, as she isn’t training at Gopichand Academy, we don’t know much about her fitness regimen,” he said.

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