Chief national badminton coach P Gopichand believes India needs to re-look at the education system and give importance to physical literacy as much as alphabetical and numerical literacy.
Recalling weightlifter Karnam Malleswari’s glorious Sydney Olympics moment when she became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal, Gopichand said: “For me, the inspiration to become a champion, that little extra came when I saw (weight-lifter) Karnam Malleswari’s grand reception and I was sitting as one of those kids out there thinking that I should become like that or I should become something.
“In the last few years of our lives, as much as sports is important, as much as education is important, somewhere down the line we have lost the importance of physical movement, we have moved a lot more towards alphabetical literacy, numerical literacy and have really forgot the basics of what physical literacy is.
“Vinodji (Vinod Tawade) was talking about which sport to take, (but) how do we decide on which sport to take unless every kids knows how to jump, throw, run, move, that’s fundamental. In our ways to become more educated alphabetically, we have lost the physical movement,” he said.
Gopichand recalled an instance, when he threw a shuttle to a 13-year-old kid, who missed it and then got back and asked him how to catch.
“I told the kid to catch it (the shuttle) and the kid comes back and asks me how to catch.
“I think it is time our education system needs to re-look at things. I think it is time we need to put physical literacy up there,” he added.
Gopichand and Rio Olympics silver medallist P V Sindhu were feliciated this evening by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at the programme organised by the Maharashtra Badminton Association.
Sindhu, who parents are Volleyball players, said: “I am really thankful to have him as my coach (and) because of him, I am here today, because of his hard work and sacrifice.
“I am also thankful to my parents, I started at the age of eight and half, so since then, they were Volleyball players and my dad was an Arjuna award in Volleyball, but they didn’t ask me why did you chose Badminton.
“Many of them were asking why don’t you play Volleyball because of your height and I feel because of their support, their motivation I am here today,” Sindhu told a gathering here.
“My mom has taken VRS for me and even my dad took a leave for five months before (Rio) Olympics ,” the ace shuttler said.