Vimal okay with Saina returning to Gopichand academy

"Saina (Nehwal) and (P. V.) Sindhu are special girls, and if they are able to get even better, we should provide them those opportunities," said Vimal Kumar.

Vimal Kumar (right) had been working with Saina Nehwal for the last three years at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy.   -  SANDEEP SAXENA

Vimal Kumar on Monday stated that after the recent World Championships, Saina Nehwal had indicated to him that she intended to move to Hyderabad. The former India international, who had been working with Saina for the last three years at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA) here, added that he had no problem with her exploring the option.

In a media statement, Vimal said, “Saina, on her return from the World Badminton Championships, asked my opinion on her working with the Indonesian coach, Mulyo (Handoyo), brought in by Sports Authority of India to look after the singles players in National camps. He is attached with Gopichand Academy, in Hyderabad. I had indicated to her that there is no harm at all in her giving it a try. Players have a short span at the top, and will always be looking at ways to get better. Saina and Sindhu are special girls, and if they are able to get even better, we should provide them those opportunities. PPBA and Gopichand Badminton Academy are recognised training centers of SAI, and we at PPBA supported Saina when she needed."

Vimal added that he understood Saina’s decision to work with Handoyo, as the coach has played a key role in the recent successes of men’s singles players in Sai Praneeth and K. Srikanth. A gracious Vimal compared Saina to Denmark legend Morten Frost and Indian stalwart Prakash Padukone. “Her work ethic is second to none. I have trained with Morten and Prakash, and I will put her on same pedestal as them, when it comes to dedication to training,” he said.

If Saina can keep herself fit, she will continue to be a world beater, Vimal said.