Mumbai: PV Sindhu and coach Park Tae-Sang decided to part ways, after a string of disappointing results forced a reshuffle in her team. The coach returned from Korea where he was tending to his ill father recently, and announced the decision on Instagram.
“I’d like to talk about my relationship with PV Sindhu, which many people have asked about. She has made disappointing moves in all recent matches and as a coach I feel responsible. So she wanted to change and said she would find a new coach.
“I decided to respect and follow her decision. I’m sorry I can’t be with her until the next Olympics, but now I’m going to support her from afar. I will remember every moment with her. I would like to thank everyone who has been supporting and encouraging me.”
Sindhu won the Tokyo Olympics bronze and CWG gold guided by Park, and reached the finals of the Asian championship. She also managed to reverse losses against Akane Yamaguchi. However, disappointing results at the 2021 World Championships and a recent inability to beat the top names had forced a rethink. Recurrent defeats to Tai Tzu Ying had piled up but Sindhu’s loss to Supanida Katethong at the India Open was the last straw.
While Park attempted to bolster Sindhu’s defensive game, it was in the smoothening of her movements and addition of strokes that his impact was most seen. However, questions remained on her ability to beat the top names while relying on a defense-heavy style of play.
Park’s decision to help shore up her confidence by playing in a bunch of Super 300s also did not yield the desired results as the big wins went missing. Her last title on the circuit was the Swiss Open.
A coaching change was in the offing as the qualification period for Paris Olympics starts in May. And with former All England champ Hafiz Hashim’s entry into the scene, Park was on his way out.
The Korean will however continue in Hyderabad at the national camp and work with a mix of junior and senior players, it has been learnt.
Former All-England champion, the elegant stroke-maker Hafiz Hashim of Malaysia will help PV Sindhu at the Suchitra Academy ahead of her All England campaign, Malaysian The Star newspaper had earlier reported.
Sindhu starts her campaign at Birmingham against Zhang Yiman and is in the same quarter as He Bingjiao and Tai Tzu Ying.
Pradeep Raju head of the Suchitra Academy confirmed the appointment, saying, “We wanted to make sure our athletes at Suchitra had a great coach. He’s a former All England champ who has played at the highest level and has the knowledge. Anyone who’s played at that level knows how to face challenges and adapt and win.”
Hafiz, resigned from his position as the junior coach with the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) at the end of last year, The Star said, and had accepted the offer from the Suchitra Badminton Academy in Hyderabad to coach its trainees.
“Not just our trainees. Others are open to seek his coaching at our base,” he added.
“Of the players who retired in the last 20 years, Hafiz was one of the most intelligent,” Pradeep Raju added. Hafiz had wins against Taufik Hidayat and Lin Dan.
Hafiz, 40, told The Star, “I received an offer from the director of the academy, Pradeep Raju last year but I turned it down as I was still under contract with BAM. When my contract ended at the end of last year, he approached me again and I accepted it. Initially, my plan was to focus on developing my academy (Hashim Badminton Academy) further but this offer was too good to turn down.
“The director also asked me to provide some assistance to Sindhu for the All-England. I will not be her coach but will share my experience and help her in any way I can. Although Sindhu is now part of the Indian national team, she still trains at the academy about once or twice a week,” Hafiz told The Star.
Hafiz, known for his silken strokes and smooth footwork, won the All-England in 2003.
He has signed a three-year contract with the academy and is already in Hyderabad. “I’m looking forward to this new chapter which will be my first coaching stint overseas,” Hafiz told The Star.
“This will be a good challenge as I need to learn how to handle different types of players in another country. I hope to become a better coach with this new assignment,” he added.
“The initial contract may be renewed. We are looking at a long term view,” Pradeep Raju added.
Sindhu was scheduled to fly out to Malaysia for a week’s training ahead of the All England.