PV Sindhu’s Korean coach Kim Ji Hyun, who played a pivotal role in the World No. 3 Indian becoming a world champion has stepped down on personal grounds.
According to a report in The Times of India, Kim’s family requires her presence in New Zealand to tend to her husband, who suffered a stroke a few weeks back and may need surgery to get better.
Last month, Sindhu, the World No. 3, thrashed Nozomi Okuhara 21-7, 21-7 to win her first gold medal and fifth overall at the Badminton World Championships. After her victory in Basel, Sindhu thanked Kim for the improvement she has made under her.
“I really focused this time and of course now I have a new coach – Miss Kim. I’ve been training under her for the past couple of months and certainly, I have improved a lot under her. I am really very thankful to her,” Sindhu had said.
Kim is an experienced badminton coach. Also, the 45-year-old Kim is a gold medalist in the 1994 Hiroshima Asian Games and won the World Junior Girls title in Jakarta in 1989. She took part in two Olympics in 1996 and 2000 and retired in 2001. A lot of her success came in team tournaments like the Uber and Sudirman Cups.
Kim’s resignation increases the workload of national coach Pullela Gopichand, who feels there should be more people in the coaching staff.
“It’s nice to have help (in the coaching staff). We have got a lot of players in the singles like Sindhu, Saina (Nehwal), (Kidambi) Srikanth. In big tournaments, I have multiple players to take care of. It’s not possible for me to be present everywhere. With Kim on board, it was great,” Gopichand had told Outlook.
Interestingly, Kim is India’s third foreign coach to have resigned without completing the tenure.
Renowned Indonesian coach Mulyo Handoyo, who had guided the men’s singles shutters progress on the world stage, had resigned abruptly in late 2017 from the Indian national badminton team citing personal reasons. He later joined the Singapore squad.
Malaysia’s Tan Kim Her had also stepped down as India’s doubles coach early this year, 18 months before his tenure was to end at the Tokyo Olympics. With Tokyo Olympics just 11 months away, Badminton Association of India (BAI) has a difficult task of finding another coach who will fill the void left by Kim.