Indonesian Mulyo Handoyo has been appointed as the singles head coach at the National Center of Excellence in Guwahati, with the Badminton Association of India (BAI) also roping in two more foreign coaches for the newly-constructed facility.
Former All England champion Russian Ivan Sozonov will be the doubles coach, while Korea’s Park Tae-sang, who guided PV Sindhu to a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, will be the third foreign coach.
Besides, there will also be a big pool of Indian coaches who will be working closely with foreign coaches.
The NCoE, a joint venture of the Assam Government and BAI, will be inaugurated on Friday in Guwahati. The state-of-the-art facility has a whopping 24 badminton courts with hostel facilities, a seating capacity of around 3000 spectators, a gym, and a yoga centre.
“BAI has big plans and this excellence centre and the appointment of these three coaches—Mulyo, Sozonov and Park—are the first step,” Sanjay Mishra, general secretary, BAI told PTI.
“Hand-picked talents will be made part of this centre, and they will be given foreign exposure and every other necessary facility. We are grateful to our sponsors and partners for making this happen. I am confident that in a year’s time you will be able to see the impact and changes.” The Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad and the Padukone-Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence in Bangalore have been the main hubs, with most Indian players training in these two centres until now.
The presence of top foreign coaches at the NCoE will be a major boost for Indian badminton, as now the junior camps and some of the senior camps can be organised here.
The legendary Mulyo, who is credited for coaching 2004 Athens Olympic gold medallist Taufik Hidayat, made a huge impact during his one-year stint with the Indian national team.
During his tenure in 2017, Kidambi Srikanth emerged as champion in four Super Series tournaments, while B Sai Praneeth claimed one title. He joined the Singapore team after resigning from his position in early 2018.
The 34-year-old Ivan along with his partner Vladimir Ivanov had won the 2016 All England Championships and also competed at the Tokyo Olympics, while Park and Sindhu parted ways early this year.
The NCoE will be launched on Friday in the presence of the Thomas Cup-winning Indian team and other dignitaries such as chief coach Pullela Gopichand and Assam sports minister Nandita Garlosa.
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