Vimal Kumar asks parents to ease pressure on budding stars

Citing the example of badminton stalwart Prakash Padukone's daughter Deepika, Vimal Kumar had a message for the parents of budding badminton stars - to ease the pressure on them. Vimal, Prakash and Saina Nehwal interacted at an Olympic Gold Quest workshop in Bengaluru.

Prakash Padukone (left), Sania Nehwal (centre) and Vimal Kumar at the Olympic Gold Quest workshop.   -  Sampath Kumar G. P.

Saina Nehwal..."Fitness is the most important aspect of the game."   -  Sampath Kumar G. P.

Badminton stalwart Vimal Kumar put his close friend and contemporary Prakash Padukone on the spot, at an Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) workshop here on Friday.

Vimal stated that parents of junior badminton players should not meddle in the affairs of their children. Vimal cited the example of Prakash’s daughter, actress Deepika Padukone, to illustrate this point.

“When Deepika was 18, she had decided to go to Mumbai to pursue her modelling career. Prakash was against it, saying she was too young, but she went anyway,” Vimal said.

“After making some money, she decided to join an acting school, and again, her parents were not happy. After Deepika completed the acting course, she was offered a role in a Shah Rukh Khan movie, but she was told by Shah Rukh that she would have to wait for a year for things to materialise. Prakash felt that Deepika should consider other options. In the meantime, she decided to sign up for a Kannada movie. Prakash again protested and told her to stick to Bollywood. Well, look at Deepika now - she is hugely successful.

“My point is, don’t underestimate your children. This is my advice to all parents of junior badminton players who put too much pressure on their kids,” Vimal said, to applause from the audience.

A sheepish Prakash concurred. “Support your children, but don’t interfere. When it came to Deepika making her decisions, yes, my wife and I were wrong on four occasions. At one stage, we conceded, because she was right,” Prakash said.

'Matter of time' for Sindhu

Prakash stated that ‘it is just a matter of time’ before P. V. Sindhu climbs to the No.1 spot on the world rankings. “She needs to take proper gaps and rest between tournaments. Of course, Sindhu and her coach P. Gopichand know what works best for her. She has at least 5-6 years of good badminton left in her. She had beaten all the top players already. It is just a matter of being consistent from here on. Ever since she won the Olympic medal, she looks a lot more confident on the court,” Prakash said.

Saina Nehwal, who was also present on the occasion, stated that she has put the disappointment of an injury-ridden year behind her. Hampered by a knee injury, Saina crashed out in the group stages of her 2016 Rio Games campaign. The 26-year-old underwent surgery on her return, and is now making her way back into international action.

“The injury layoff was very frustrating, but that is in the past. Now that I have recovered, I want to prove that I can still achieve big things on the court. For any player, fitness is the most important aspect of the game. There have been many occasions where I have played very badly, but I have managed to win only because I was very fit," Saina said.