Lesser-known Babu played an important role in Saina`s success

Among those, behind the stunning success of ace shuttler Saina Nehwal, there is P Bhaskar Babu.

Last Updated: Jan 05, 2011, 14:49 PM IST

Hyderabad: Among those, behind the stunning
success of ace shuttler Saina Nehwal, there is P Bhaskar Babu,
her coach, whose contribution for her success is immense.

In addition to chief national coach Pullela Gopichand,
Saina always attributes her success to the coaching by Bhaskar
Babu who has played a crucial role in shaping her career.

He has been coaching Saina since 2006 and has played key
role in the success of ace player Chetan Anand among several
others.

"Saina is here, Chetan Anand was with me for 15 years,
Prithvi was there, Neelima Chowdary, Sudharani, Dinesh,
Swetha, so many of them are there. They all won tournaments at
the national and international levels," he told reporters.

"I started coaching Saina from 2006. Her progress is
fantastic. She was not very confident in 2007 and 2008 and she
used to lose in first rounds. Once she started winning, she
knows what exactly she wants and we know what she requires. We
assess and talk with the player, I and Gopi we talk, we
prepare her for all the tournaments," he said.

Praising Saina for her abilities, Babu says an Olympics
medal can be expected from her if everything goes well.

"She is very confident. She wants to rectify whatever
shortcomings are there. There are a lot of expectations from
her and she is aware of that. If everything goes well, we
expect an Olympics medal from her," he said.

"She is mentally very tough. She never gives up a match
and never feels that she is going to lose. She listens to the
coach and she expects the coach to give something to her,
before the match, during the match and after the match. That
is a very good quality," he said.

After Saina, Babu feels that P Kashyap is the player who
can win Super Series events. "Saina is first, next Kashyap is
the best. Once he crosses a barrier, he can also win super
series events," Babu said.

P V Sindhu, Sikki Reddy, Guru Sai Dutt and H S Prannoy
are the promising players in the national badminton circuit,
he said.

Babu, who hails from the nondescript small town
Narsapuram in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, played
at the state-level in the 1970s and later chose coaching as
his career.

"I used to struggle a lot to become a good player. Those
days, I did not how to become a good player. Still I used to
play up to semi-finals but was never able to cross that level.
It was in 1975," he said.

"Later, I realized that there is something wrong with me
or with the system. It was my own choice to become a coach. I
wanted to become a coach to produce players from rural areas
and small towns who are finding it difficult to become a good
player," he said.

After obtaining a diploma in coaching from the National
Institute of Sports (NIS) at Patiala, Babu joined the National
Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) as a coach.

"I used to train there but satisfaction was not there. I
started looking for a job and got a job in Sports Authority of
India. In 1987, I started coaching in Vijayawada. More than
25-30 players have won almost all the titles in India and
there are so many medals won by players trained by us at the
international level also," he said.

Babu expressed happiness that badminton is gaining
popularity in the country with enthusiasts and parents showing
interest in the game at various levels.

"I feel badminton is the second most popular game after
cricket. There is lot of participation in badminton at club
level and others. Players are also coming up, parents
involvement is good and Association (Badminton Association of
India) is also doing good," he said.

If resources are provided by government and private
organisations, many more players can win medals for the
country and the same was proved in Commonwealth Games and
Asian Games, he added.

PTI