The Korean coach Park Tae Sang had a ringside view of Sindhu’s matches at the Tokyo Olympics and he seemed to have enjoyed every moment of her bronze medal effort against He Jing Biao on Sunday.
Park, in fact, is the fourth coach to train Sindhu at the senior level. Sindhu, who had become a superstar under the tutelage of Pullela Gopichand, got her first foreign coach in Indonesian Mulyo Handoyo, who arrived in India as a specialist singles coach in 2017.
Mulyo, known for shaping the career of Taufik Hidayat, soon made an impression with Sindhu’s father PV Ramana acknowledging that the training methods were different and benefited the singles players.
Mulyo, however, left late that year and Sindhu got a new personal coach in Kim Ji Hyun of South Korea.
Kim was to train Sindhu and Saina Nehwal. But Saina did not want to train under Kim and she completely focused on Sindhu.
The results were immediate as soon after Kim joined in March 2019, Sindhu became the world champion in August. Kim, however, left in September as her husband took ill.
That left Sindhu with no option but to train with Park. The Korean, a former international, slowly started to mould Sindhu.
The pandemic disrupted the entire training schedule and Sindhu left for London. After a three-month stint there, she arrived in Thailand and played three tournaments but her fitness as well as her game was not up to the mark.
Soon after arriving in India, Sindhu shifted her base from the Pullela Gopichand Academy to the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium.
She also got sparring partners from Suchitra Academy, 40 km away from her home and Stadium where she used to go for strength training.
Anticipating Sindhu would get to play left-handers at the Olympics, the academy used to provide left-handed players to help Sindhu. “We used to send at least four to six talented players everyday to spar with Sindhu. Coach Park thanked us for helping them. He used to give us the drills for Sindhu everyday. Our team along with Park planned her training programme,” said Pradeep Raju, founder and head coach of the Suchitra Academy.
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