Early life

Pullela Gopichand was born on 16 November 1973 to Pullela Subash Chandra and Subbaravamma at Nagandla, Prakasam district, Andhra Pradesh .[8] Initially, he was interested in playing cricket, but his elder brother encouraged him to take up badminton instead.[8] He did his schooling from St.Paul's High School, Hyderguda, Hyderabad. He joined A. V. College, Hyderabad and graduated in public administration. He was the captain of the Indian combined universities badminton team in 1990 and 1991.

Playing career

Gopichand was coached by S. M. Arif before Prakash Padukone accepted him at Prakash Padukone academy. He also trained under Ganguly Prasad at the SAI Bangalore.[9][10] Gopichand won his first National Badminton Championship title in 1996, and went on to win the title five times in a row, until 2000. He won two gold and one silver at the Indian national games, 1998 held at Imphal. At the international level, he represented India in 3 Thomas Cup tournaments. In 1996 he won a gold in the SAARC badminton tournament at Vijayawada and defended the crown in the next games held at Colombo in 1997. At the 1998 Commonwealth Games, he won a silver in the team event and a bronze in men's singles. In 1999, he won the Toulouse open championship in France and the Scottish open championship in Scotland. He also emerged winner at the Asian satellite tournament held at Hyderabad in the same year, and lost in the final match of the German grand prix championship. In 2001, he won the prestigious All England Open Badminton Championships at Birmingham. He defeated then world number one Peter Gade in the semi-finals before defeating Chen Hong of China to lift the trophy.[11] He became the second Indian to achieve the feat after Prakash Padukone, who won in 1980.

Coaching career

After retiring from his playing career, Pullela Gopichand founded the Gopichand Badminton Academy in 2008, after reportedly mortgaging his own house.[23] Nimmagadda Prasad, a renowned industrialist donated ₹50 Million on a condition to win a medal for India at olympics in badminton. The academy produced several badminton players including Saina Nehwal, P. V. Sindhu, Parupalli Kashyap, Srikanth Kidambi, Arundhati Pantawane, Gurusai Datt and Arun Vishnu.[24] Saina Nehwal went on to win the bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics and P.V. Sindhu the silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Gopichand also served as the official Indian Olympic Badminton Team coach at the 2016 Brazil's Rio Olympics.

Awards and honors

Arjuna Award, 1999.

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, 2001

Padma Shri, 2005

Dronacharya Award, 2009

Padma Bhushan, 2014

Rewards for Coaching the silver medal Winner at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics

1 crore (US$160,000) Reward from Telangana Government

10 lakh (US$16,000) from Badminton Association of India

50 lakh (US$78,000) Reward from Andhra pradesh Government

10 lakh (US$16,000) from Badminton Association of India

Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar, 2013, under Category Establishment and Management of Sports Academies of Excellence- Pullela Gopichand Academy of Badminton, Hyderabad