India's chief national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand considered himself 'really lucky' to be picked by the International Olympics Committee (IOC) for the Coaches Lifetime Achievement Awards. (More Badminton News)
Gopichand, 46, received an honourable mention in the male category of the prestigious 2019 IOC's coaches award in recognition of the role he played in the development of the game in India.
"To be recognised by the IOC is something really huge," Gopichand told Outlook.
Credited for changing the face of badminton in India, Gopichand has shaped the careers of Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, etc, helping them not only become world beaters but also ambassadors of Olympic sports.
"There are many great coaches and to get a mention along with them or ahead of them is something unbelievable. So, I think it's a huge boost [for Olympic sports]," the former All England champion added.
The IOC Coaches Lifetime Achievement Awards is an initiative of the IOC Athletes' Entourage Commission to recognise outstanding achievements and contributions a coach has made to develop and encourage athletes in line with the Olympic values in summer or winter
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In a statement, the IOC Athletes' and Entourage Commissions wrote that " ...an Honourable
Mention is being awarded to Mr Pullela Gopichand for the male category of the 2019 IOC Coaches Lifetime Achievement Awards.
"The Panel wish to recognise his efforts in the development of Badminton in India, his efforts in supporting athletes across sports and his contribution to the Olympic Movement."
He was conferred with the Dronacharya Award in 2009 and the Padma Bhushan – India's third highest civilian award – in 2014.