Pullela Gopichand is a former Indian badminton player. Presently, he is the Chief National Coach for the Indian Badminton team. He won the All England Open Badminton Championships in 2001 becoming the second Indian to achieve this feat after Prakash Padukone. He runs the Gopichand Badminton Academy. He received the Arjuna Award in 1999, the Dronacharya Award in 2009 and the Padma Bhushan – India’s third highest civilian award – in 2014.
Initially, he was interested in playing cricket, but his elder brother encouraged him to take up badminton instead.He did his schooling from St.Paul’s High School, Hyderguda, Hyderabad. He joined A. V. College, Hyderabad and graduated in public administration. He was the captain of the Indian combined universities badminton team in 1990 and 1991.
Gopichand was coached by S. M. Arif before Prakash Padukone accepted him at Prakash Padu-kone academy. He also trained under Ganguly Prasad at the SAI Bangalore. Gopichand won his first National Badminton Championship title in 1996, and went on to win the title five times in a row, until 2000. He won two gold and one silver at the Indian national games, 1998 held at Im-phal. At the international level, he represented India in 3 Thomas Cup tournaments. In 1996 he won a gold in the SAARC badminton tournament at Vijayawada and defended the crown in the next games held at Colombo in 1997. At the 1998 Commonwealth Games, he won a silver in the team event and a bronze in men’s singles. In 1999, he won the Toulouse open championship in France and the Scottish open championship in Scotland. He also emerged winner at the Asian satellite tournament held at Hyderabad in the same year, and lost in the final match of the Ger-man grand prix championship.
In 2001, he won the prestigious All England Open Badminton Championships at Birmingham. He defeated then world number one Peter Gade in the semi-finals before defeating Chen Hong of China to lift the trophy. He became the second Indian to achieve the feat after Prakash Padukone, who won in 1980.