Exclusive: I want to make my father proud, says Gayatri Gopichand

Gayatri Gopichand, daughter of legendary Indian badminton player Pullela Gopichand, is hoping to qualify for the 2024 Olympics

by

Rituraj Borkakoty

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Gayatri Gopichand (left) and her partner Treesa Jolly during their doubles match at the Badminton Asia Championship in Dubai on Wednesday. — Supplied photo
Gayatri Gopichand (left) and her partner Treesa Jolly during their doubles match at the Badminton Asia Championship in Dubai on Wednesday. — Supplied photo

Published: Wed 26 Apr 2023, 8:18 PM

Last updated: Wed 26 Apr 2023, 8:19 PM

Gayatri Gopichand started playing badminton at the age of five. But it took her many years to understand the magnitude of what her father, Pullela Gopichand, achieved in the sport she 'loved playing' as a child.

Gopichand had not yet married PV Laxmi, an eight-time singles national champion in India, when he famously won the All England Championship in 2001.


Gayatri was born in 2003, one year after Gopichand and Laxmi's marriage.

With the talent for badminton flowing in her genes, it was only natural that she would step on the court and smash the shuttlecock.


Last year, Gayatri and her partner, Treesa Jolly, smashed a record, becoming the first Indian women's pair to reach the All England Championship doubles semifinals, 21 years after her father's triumph in the iconic event.

"I also wanted to achieve something in this sport. My father is definitely my idol. I look up to him and I just want to make him proud," Gayatri, 20, told the Khaleej Times after her 17-21, 21-17, 21-18 win over Lanny Tria Mayasari and Ribka Sugiarto of Indonesia in the women's doubles round of 32 match at the Badminton Asia Championship in Dubai on Wednesday.

Gayati and her partner, Treesa, are now hoping to do well in every tournament this year to earn a place in the biggest sporting event in the world.

"This is the Olympic qualification year, so all the tournaments are important and we need to perform well in all these tournaments because our dream is to go to the Paris Olympics next year," said Treesa.

The Olympics will always remain Gayatri's big motivation.

"My father has won All-England and he played in the Olympics. My mother also played in the Olympics Games," Gayatri said.

"I have learned a lot from them. So my big goal is to qualify for the Olympics."


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