Badminton

Gopichand Academy launches new talent hunt program, to select and train under-10 players

Children can showcase their badminton skills by uploading a two-minute video out of which few will be selected to train at the academy.

In a new talent hunt initiative to mark one year of its association with IDBI Federal Life Insurance, the Pullela Gopichand Academy will identify 10 to 15 under-10 children to be inducted into the Hyderabad-based academy.

Announcing the “Young Champs campaign”, CEO of the insurance company and former Mumbai pace bowler, Vignesh Shahane, said, “We are driven by passion, not money in this grass-roots initiative. Whatever needs to be done to produce world champions will be done.”

Starting from Thursday, under-10 children could showcase their badminton skills by uploading a two-minute video on the Facebook and Twitter pages of the Academy’s existing initiative with the insurance firm, “Quest for Excellence”, till December 28.

The winners of the contest will get to train at the Gopichand Academy after going through a selection process.

“What I would look for in the video during a rally is basic footwork, speed, wrist work, hand-eye co-ordination and style of strokes,” said Gopichand to a specific query. “10-15 is the number we are looking for. It could vary depending on the number of entries,” added the national badminton coach and former All-England singles champion.

“Badminton has grown tremendously at grass roots but in the last few years I haven’t got enough time to be with the younger players - as much as I would have liked. And this idea came up while sitting and chatting with some players,” said Gopichand. “Players are coming from all sorts of places. This initiative offers opportunity for the poorest of poor and farthest of farther to showcase their talent,” he added.

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