Vimal happy for the honour

Vimal happy for the honour

Vimal Kumar

Delightfully giddy, the former National champion who was recommended for the country’s highest coaching recognition, the Dronacharya Award, on Saturday, was happy about the honour.

“Quite happy to... you know... get this honour,” Vimal told DH. “I would like to basically dedicate this to our training centre and the fellow coaches at the PPBA (Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy). Of course, to my family - wife and kids - they sacrificed a lot for me to be able to do this.”

It’s been 25 years since Vimal co-founded the PPBA alongside the legendary namesake, October 1, 1994 to be exact.

“I was lucky to have the platform, to have the PPBA,” the coach revealed. “(When) I started coaching this was never a goal, I don’t know if these awards were even there. But I never liked the idea of applying for an award. But I’m happy that the Badminton Association of India forwarded my credentials,” he added.

After a successful career on the court, Vimal transitioned to coaching and served as the national coach between 2003-06, coach of IBF World Badminton Academy and with the PPBA. Perhaps his crowing achievement on the sidelines came when under his tutelage, Saina Nehwal ascended the top of the world rankings to become the first Indian women to achieve the feat in 2015.

“As a player, you are only worried about yourself. Coach is a totally different responsibility. That way it is more gratifying,” Vimal remarked. “Both are important. Because of badminton, as a player I could live in other country (he moved to England), met different people and had experiences so that when I finished my career I could continue that at the academy. I’m still involved in and enjoy (badminton). I’m very fortunate,” he stressed.

During his playing career, the Kerala-born shuttler represented India at the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and Olympics and peaked at a world ranking of 19.