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Prakash Padukone is set to travel to Paris Olympics as badminton squad mentor


Former All-England Badminton champion Prakash Padukone. File
| Photo Credit: The Hindu

Legendary Prakash Padukone is set to travel as a mentor along with the 15-member Indian badminton squad for the Paris Olympics, beginning on July 26.

Padukone, the first Indian to win the All England Championship, was retired in 1991 even as badminton was introduced in the Olympics at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

While Lakshya Sen is a product of the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA), Sindhu had announced Padukone as her mentor ahead of the Paris Games after shifting her base to Bengaluru from Hyderabad. She is preparing for her third Olympics.

There are seven players and eight support staff, including the coaches and physios,” a source in the know of things told PTI.

“Pullela Gopichand, RMV Gurusaidutt, Agus Santosa, Vimal Kumar, and Mathias Boe will be the coaches travelling to Paris, while Prakash Padukone will go as a mentor. Zeinia Samar and Kiran Challagundla will be the two physiotherapists in the team.”

While Gopichand is India’s national chief coach, Gurusaidutt has been training HS Prannoy and Boe is the coach of men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty and women’s doubles combination of Ashwini Ponnappa and Tanisha Crasto.

Former India coach Vimal Kumar is currently training Lakshya, while Agus has been training Sindhu in Bengaluru.

Kiran has been a long-time physio of the Indian badminton team but Zeinia has joined Sindhu’s camp after her decision to move to Bengaluru in pursuit of an unprecedented third consecutive Olympic medal.

In the last Olympics, India chief coach Gopichand had decided not to travel to Tokyo due to the cap on the number of officials accompanying athletes in the light of COVID-19 situation in 2021.

At Paris, the Indian shuttlers will be aiming to continue their medal hunt following the silver and two bronze that the country won spread over the last three editions.

The badminton events at Paris will begin on July 27 and will run till August 5.



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