Had he listened to the others he would be writing code sitting in the USA but Gopichand chose to play a sport which not many in those days dared to take. He was told not to take up badminton and concentrate on his studies. He rebelled. His rebellion won him the junior national championship. But this was not enough. He became the champion in senior category as well.
One day Gopichand walked up to Prakash Padukone, whose feat he was going achieve soon, to seek advice on how he could improve his rankings.
In 2001, while playing the final of the All England Championship against Cheng Hong, all these thoughts must have mustered around his mind. These thoughts sometimes make you nervous, to an extent that you might break completely and lose. Or you take inspiration from all that you went through to reach the finals of the most important tournament in the sport. Gopichand chose the latter and went on to create history, winning the championship, beating all odds and Cheng Hong, convincingly 15-12, 15-06, in straight sets, to shot to fame.
Everyone agreed after his win that Gopichand was born to play badminton. Not many knew that he had to fight and work hard to pursue the sport, forget about winning the most precious tournament in the game of badminton. Gopichand had become Sachin Tendulkar for a while in India. The fanfare he received was massive but unlike Tendulkar, it never grew but diminished with time. Gopichand, however, grew as a player and even after he quit playing, he did not quit the game.
He continues to be associated with the sport he loves and what he has given the country is gold. Saina Nehwal, won her first Olympic medal under his coaching in 2012. In 2016, PV Sindhu clinched the silver at Rio Olympics. Under him, Kidambi Srikanth has grown from being just a kid to a world number 2.
He always said that I did not get the best guidance when I played. Gopichand does not want it to happen to others and we must say, he is doing more than a fine job.