Vimal Kumar clears air as Saina set to return ‘home’

Saina Nehwal is back home to train at the nursery that tutored her rise the ranks – from a prodigy to the Olympics medallist and World No. 1. It is official that Saina will not train at the Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad with the Indonesian coach Mulyo, who has been appointed by the Sports Authority of India to train singles players.

While Saina took to twitter for announcing her move after training under U Vimal Kumar at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy in Bangalore for three years, her current coach Vimal Kumar confirmed in a Press release that Saina had sought his consent to train at Hyderabad at the singles camp at Gopi Chand’s academy.

“Saina on her return from the World Championships in Glasgow asked for my opinion on working with Mr Mulyo. I had indicated to her that there is no harm at all in giving it a try,” Vimal said in a Press release. “Players have a short span at the top and will always be looking at ways to get better. We should provide them those opportunities.”

Earlier on Monday, Saina in a series of tweets thanked Vimal for supporting and guiding her for the past three years, ever since she had unceremoniously left the Gopichand academy and move to Bengaluru. Saina and Gopichand were reportedly not even in talking terms thereafter. However, the coach and the star player were seen together at the World Championships, where Saina and PV Sindhu, considered to be arch foes, also posed friendly for Press cameras.

Saina while training with Vimal at Bengaluru had climbed to the top position in BWF women’s rankings and bagged a silver and a bronze at the World Championships.

Saina in a series of tweets on Monday mentioned “For a while I’ve been thinking about moving my training base back to the Gopichand academy and I had a discussion about this with Gopi sir and I am really thankful to him for agreeing to help me again. At this stage in my career I think he can help me achieve my goals,” she tweeted.

“I’m also very thankful to Vimal sir for helping me for the last three years. He helped reach world no.1 in the rankings. And also helped me win two world championships medal silver in 2015 and bronze in 2017 along with many super series titles. I m very happy to b back home and train in Hyderabad keep supporting friends,” she tweeted further.

Saina, however, is not leaving the Bengaluru academy immediately. “I wanted to train under Vimal sir ahead of the Asian Games as his advice helped me during the Uber Cup. Asian Games is a big tournament and I feel he can help me,” the London Olympic bronze medallist said. “I reached Bangalore today [Tuesday] and I will train under him for the next 15 days. I want to win a medal at the Asian Games and hope it helps me to do well there.”