Born in Andhra Pradesh, India Pullela Gopichand runs the best badminton academy in India with his last name; Gopichand Badminton Academy. Being a former Indian badminton player, Mr. Gopichand is the second Indian badminton player after Mr. Prakash Padukone who won the All England open Badminton Championship in the year 2001. Since 1996 after winning the first National Badminton Championship Title, he won this title till the year 2000 without missing one single year. In 1998 Mr. Gopichand won 2 gold medals and one silver medal at the National Games held at Imphal and it was because of him that in the same year his home state Andhra Pradesh won the Rahmatulla Cup. Apart from representation India in 3 Thomas Cup tournaments, he won the gold medal in the 1996 SAARC tournament held at Vijaywada and in Colombo in 1997 in the same tournament. He also won the Toulouze Open Championship in France as well as the Scottish Open Championship in Scotland in 1999. His accolades include Arjuna Award; 1999, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award; 2001, Padma Shri; 2005, Dronacharya Award; 2009 and most recently Padma Bhushan in 2014. All the international level badminton players from India including Saina Nehwal, P.V. Sindhu, Parupalli Kashyap, Arundhati Pantawane, Arun Vishnu and Gurusai Dutt have been trained by the Gopichand Badminton Academy.
Mr. Gopichand has been trained by Prakash Padukone himself at the Prakash Padukone Academy apart from also being trained from Ganguly Prasad at SAI Bangalore as well as by S.M. Arif. Being a role model to millions of Indians, Mr. Gopichand is a man of principles and does what is morally right. For instance, he refused an endorsement offer from Coca- Cola because of the health hazards involved in the consumption of soft drinks as well as the economic impact that sale of these drinks have in rural areas. He even said on record that “if heroes or role models appear often on television with these bottles in their hands, how can we blame children if they pester parents for buying those products?” Apart from being a training centre, Gopichand Badminton Academy served as the venue for the 2009 Indian Open as well as the training venue for the 2009 BWF World Championships. Modelled after Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy, the Gopichand Badminton Academy has eight courts, a weight training room, a swimming pool, few rooms to sleep, a cafeteria along with proper food, diet as well as physiotherapy programs available. The badminton court has wooden floorings as per international standards and was constructed with the overall cost of US$ 2.5 million. Pullela Gopichand was so determined to set up this badminton academy that when despite all the funds he raised for the academy fell short, he did not hesitate even once to mortgage his family home to fulfil his dream. He was ready to mortgage his property but he was not ready to undermine the standards of the academy. His sacrifice and hard word reaped fruits and today the Gopichand Badminton Academy is no less than any badminton training academies in other developed countries of the world. Creating a world class badminton academy in a country like India where Cricket is Religion was a challenge which was very well handled by this badminton ace.
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