In coach Pullela Gopichand’s opinion, PV Sindhu has at least a decade of badminton in her as a player on the world circuit before she hangs up her boots. But work on her second innings, it would seem, has begun. Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy has offered five acres of land in Visakhapatnam to Sindhu to set up a badminton academy exclusively for girls.
Jagan put the offer on the table after Sindhu met him in Amaravati on Friday and expressed her desire to train female badminton players. The CM asked Sports minister M Srinivas Rao to do the needful.
Incidentally, Sindhu is also on the rolls of the Andhra Pradesh government as a deputy collector. She accepted this post in August 2017 when Chandrababu Naidu was chief minister. His government had also allotted 12 acres of land to Pullela Gopichand to set up a badminton academy in Amaravati in September that year.
Though Gopichand had accompanied Sindhu to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, the national coach was conspicuous by his absence in Amaravati. While it may have been purely unintentional due to other commitments, old-timers were quick to point to the back story.
Gopichand had a stand-off with the YS Rajasekhara Reddy government more than a decade ago when it tried to take back a part of the land that had been allotted to it for the badminton academy in Hyderabad by the previous Naidu regime. Ironically, it is the same academy that has produced a conveyor belt of badminton champions in Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth and Sai Praneeth, who are now being feted by governments and people all over the country.