In 2014, just ahead of the Asian Games, ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal split with the national head coach Pullela Gopichand and decided to train under former India coach Vimal Kumar. Stating that she was disillusioned with Gopichand’s training, Saina decided to move her base from Hyderabad to Bangalore. In a short period of time, Saina went on to achieve her desired results as she became the first Indian player to bag a silver medal at the World Badminton Championships.
Since training under Vimal, Saina not only won the silver medal in Jakarta in the World Championships but also won competitions such as the Uber Cup (team competition) and the Australian Open. In 2015 Nehwal also reached the numero uno status in BWF rankings. However, in 2016 she slipped to the sixth spot. After a string of good performances, Nehwal had said that apart from increasing her confidence and self-belief, Vimal had also helped her adjust a few techniques. Under the tutelage of Vimal, Nehwal also managed to win the China and India Open and reached the finals of All England and World Championships. For this, she credited her decision to move from Hyderabad to Bangalore.
However, an injury to the knee saw her form take a dip. It resulted in a mediocre performance in the Rio Olympics where she crashed out in the group stage. But since then shuttler has gone on to make a successful return to the court after having surgery on the ailing knee. After the returning to the court, Saina had admitted that the decision to shift her base helped to increase the longevity of her career which seemed in serious doubt. Meanwhile, in her latest tournament at the World Badminton Championships (2017), Saina once again secured the bronze medal, behind PV Sindhu’s silver in the same tourney.