Gayatri Gopichand is going to represent India at the upcoming Asian Games in Jakarta in August. Gayatri is none other than Pullela Gopichand’s fifteen-year-old daughter. Expectations from teenager are high, as she is the latest product of the Gopichand Academy, which has produced players like PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal, who have gone on to win many medals in badminton for India.
Mother also mentoring her
While players who trained at Gopichand Academy got mentorship only by Gopichand, Gayatri was also able to train under PVV Laxmi, her mother, also a former badminton champion with eight national titles to her name. Laxmi, who has been an Olympian, does not interfere in the day-to-day training but offers both her kids regular tips. Gayatri proved her sporting mettle at the age of 12 by becoming the Under-13 badminton champion. Her younger brother, Vishnu, also plays badminton and trains with her.
Training begins at 4 am
Gayatri does not attend school regularly. She is tutored at home and goes to school only to write her examinations. She has been home-schooled like this for the last nine years. She has been training at Gopichand Academy since she was six. Gayatri said that she sets the morning alarm herself every night. Her training starts at 4:15 am and goes on uninterrupted till 7 am. The next training session is from 9-11 am. She practices again in the afternoon from 3-5 pm. Alongside Gopichand, other coaches, including Satya, Vishnu, Rajendra, and Anil are also involved in her training.
Music & movies
Gayatri’s parents also get up early in the morning as she readies to begin training and the family ends their day with dinner together. This is the only time when the family is able to talk to each other about their day. Despite this, Gayatri says, most of the conversations are sports-related. Gayatri said she is also interested in music, and after her morning training, she talks about music or movies at home.
Father not hero
Most players, whose father is also a player, consider their fathers as their hero, but Gayatri is different. Her heroes are badminton players Lin Dan and Cheng Long. She says that she loves to watch their smashes and tries to play like them.