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Badminton Sensation Sindhu's Bold Move: Proposes Acclaimed Coach Hafiz Hashim to Revolutionize Training with SAI's Approval

Indian Badminton Star PV Sindhu Seeks SAI's Approval to Bring Former Champion Hafiz Hashim on Board as Coach

PV Sindhu, a prominent Indian shuttler aiming for her third Olympic medal at the Paris Games next year, has expressed her desire to enlist the coaching services of Muhammad Hafiz Hashim, former All England Open champion. In a letter addressed to the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Sindhu has formally requested approval to train under the guidance of the Malaysian coach.

Anticipating a positive response, former national coach Vimal Kumar stated, "I think SAI will approve her proposal. She is an elite player for India and is likely to be the only woman singles badminton player to qualify for the Paris Olympics." The proposal is expected to be discussed during the upcoming Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) meeting, where crucial aspects of India's Olympic program and proposals of Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) athletes will be evaluated.

Kumar emphasized the need for individual attention for top players, stating, "One coach can't deal with so many top players, they need individual attention. Even internationally, Viktor Axelsen has a different coach, and now Sindhu is also trying different coaches. She had a good two to three years with Park (Tae-Sang) and now Hafiz. See, I don't know how good his coaching credentials are, but he was a good player 20 years back. Sometimes all it takes is a spark."

Sindhu, 27, has faced some challenges this season following a five-month injury layoff due to a stress fracture in her ankle, which occurred during her gold-winning campaign at the Commonwealth Games in August last year. While her performance has been relatively subdued, she managed to reach the finals of the Madrid Spain Masters Super 300 and the semifinals of the Malaysia Masters Super 500. However, she made early exits from several events earlier in the year.

After parting ways with Korean coach Park Tae-Sang in February, who played a vital role in her bronze medal win at the Tokyo Olympics, Sindhu has been working with SAI coach Vidhi Chaudhary. The MOC had previously approved financial assistance for Sindhu's coach to accompany her to various tournaments, including the All England Championships, Swiss Open, and Spain Masters.

With the qualification period for the 2024 Olympic Games commencing on May 1, Sindhu has been training with Hafiz at the Suchitra Badminton Academy for the past two weeks in preparation for upcoming events, starting with the Canada Open next week. Vimal stressed that Sindhu's mental approach and application would play a crucial role, stating, "Sindhu will have to deal with it more than the coach. She has to focus on her thought process and application. She is a top-level player, and one or two good wins against top players can quickly turn things around for her."

While national chief coach Pullela Gopichand has been Sindhu's mentor, she briefly worked with Kim Ju Hyun on her way to winning the World Championships gold in Basel. Since Kim's abrupt departure, she has been training under Park's guidance. Hafiz, the gold medalist in the 2002 Commonwealth Games, previously served as a junior coach at the Badminton Association of Malaysia before joining the Suchitra Academy in Hyderabad on a three-year contract.

Sindhu sought Hafiz's guidance during her visit to the Suchitra Academy, where she undergoes strength and conditioning coaching under trainer Srikanth Verma. Srikanth confirmed that Sindhu was doing well and gradually returning to her best form. Their primary focus is injury prevention and maintaining her fitness, and they prioritize analyzing post-match

and post-tournament requirements to design a specific training program tailored to Sindhu's needs.

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