“I am not here to make money, but to produce champions”, says Korean Kim Ji Hyun, former Asian Games gold medallist and now credited for playing a key role in P.V. Sindhu's victory at the 2019 World championships at Basel in Switzerland last Sunday.
“Well, I would have left my job here (with Sports Authority of India at the Gopi Chand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad) if I were not enjoying it. And also, I make it a point that every one of my trainees enjoys their role,” she says in an exclusive chat with Sportstar on return on Tuesday.
Kim believes Sindhu played her best match in the Worlds finals. She said, “We were outwardly specific that she should attack from the word go against Nozomi Okuhara, it was obvious that she should not let the opponent get any freedom given her reputation to engage in long rallies.
“We worked on a lot of things and the emphasis was on all-round improvement of Sindhu’s game because we all know that she is a big player with the Olympics around next year,” Kim said.
“I am over the moon definitely after she has won gold. Now the emphasis will continue to keep improving on physical, mental and skills as always for you cannot afford to relax in the run-up to Olympics,” she added.
“We have a very good bonding that is really helping me to get real good results in the recent past,” she said.
“One thing which I can say is that Sindhu is made to believe in herself more even while stressing the need to cut down on the negatives. She is a champion player and all that she needed is some fine-tuning,” Kim said. “There is definite change in her attitude and skills too for the good,” she added.
“Before the final, I just reminded Sindhu that she beat Okuhara in the recent past and all that she needed is to stay focused and not think too much of what happened in the past or what is going to happen in the final,” the Korean coach recalled.
Kim also added that it is a pleasure to work with the Indian shuttlers. “It is a pleasure to work with these Indian players who are all responding to my training method. It is sometimes boring like any other job. So, I try different things to keep them relaxed and be mentally fresh for the biggest challenges ahead,” Kim said.
“Definitely, it is important to maintain the kind of fitness, form and consistency Sindhu showed in the World championship. And it is a long, long way still to go before the next Olympics,” she cautioned.
On working with Gopi, Kim said she was pleased with his style of functioning. “When there is scope for creating ideas, you will enjoy your job more and that’s what I am doing now,” she said with a big smile.
“For sure, there will be pressure on me too as coach because of the expectations but like the players themselves, I have to be ready for any task,” she concluded.
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