Saina begins training for Asiad in City

Coach Pullela Gopichand downplays rumours of rift

Saina begins training for Asiad in City

Olympic bronze-medallist Saina Nehwal began her Asian Games preparations here at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy on Tuesday under former national coach Vimal Kumar.

Saina, who usually trains in Hyderabad under national coach Pullela Gopichand, moved her training base to the PPBA Academy in the city which heightened speculation about a split between her and Gopichand.

While the Saina camp remained tight-lipped on the issue, Gopichand made a reference to it while addressing a press conference.

“Well, it has been ten years we worked together. Whatever has happened, I am not very .... I saw that report in the paper in the morning. Leave it at that,” Gopichand told reporters in a press conference.
“I don’t want to comment on that issue because it is two weeks to go for the Asian Games. I think whereever you are training the last thing you want is your focus to be out. So leave it at that, (lets) address it later,” he said.

This isn’t the first time that Saina has decided to train under a different coach.

In 2011, she trained under Baskar Babu for three months but soon paired up with Gopichand and ultimately credited him for the bronze-medal performance in London 2012.

Pouring cold water over the issue, a PPBA press release said that Saina would be training there for the next two weeks without any mention of what happened.

“After a discussion with national badminton coach, Pullela Gopichand and Saina, it has been decided that Saina will train with Vimal at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy in Bangalore for two weeks as part of her training for the Asian Games,” the release from the academy said.

“The presence of former World No 1 Prakash Padukone, who will play the role of a mentor, is bound to benefit Saina,” it added.
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