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“Going To Be Hell Of A Journey”: PV Sindhu Welcomes New Coach Hafiz Hashim

Double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu on Tuesday announced Indonesian Mohammad Hafiz Hashim as her new coach, saying he has all the traits, including the “pedigree” and “attacking instinct”, that she was seeking ahead of next year’s Paris Olympics. PTI had reported earlier that Sindhu had written to the Sports Authority of India (SAI), seeking its approval to train under the former All England champion Malaysian as part of the Sports Ministry’s Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).

“HERE WE GO!! In typical Fabrizio style, I am thrilled to announce Hafiz Hashim as my new coach!!,” Sindhu, who is currently in Yeosu for the Korea Open Super 500 tournament, wrote in a social media post.

“After a long, drawn-out process, I am ecstatic to declare that I have chosen the incredible Hafiz Hashim as my coach.

“Hafiz possesses all the traits I was seeking in a coach, including the height, speed, and an attacking instinct. As a former All England champion in 2003, he sure has the pedigree as well. Having coach (Misbun) Sidek as his old coach, just adds this aura to him.” Sindhu has been battling an inconsistent form and, with the Olympic qualification period for the 2024 Games having started from May 1, the Indian was looking for someone to guide her in her preparation for the Games, where she is eyeing the coveted gold.

“I extend a warm welcome aboard, Coach Hashim. Buckle up folks, it’s going to be a hell of journey with captain Hafiz at the helm!!” Sindhu has looked off colour this season after returning from a five-month long injury layoff following a stress fracture on her ankle en route her Commonwealth Games gold in August last year.

In February, the 28-year-old from Hyderabad parted ways with Korean coach Park Tae-Sang, who was instrumental in her winning the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

The highlight this season for her has been a final finish at the Madrid Spain Masters Super 300 and semifinal finishes at Malaysia Masters Super 500 and Canada Open Super 500. However, she made early exits from a series of events at the start of the year.

The inconsistent run affected her ranking as Sindhu, the 2019 world champion, slipped out of the top 10 in April for the first time since 2016 and slumped to world number 17 on Tuesday in the latest BWF chart.

Sindhu was working with SAI coach Vidhi Chaudhary after the Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) had approved her proposal to financially assist him towards accompanying her to the All England Championships, Swiss Open, and Spain Masters.

Sindhu had worked with Hafiz at the Suchitra Badminton Academy ahead of the Canada Open.

While national chief coach Pullela Gopichand has been her mentor, Sindhu has worked briefly with Kim Ju Hyun on way to her World Championships gold in Basel. Since Kim left abruptly, she has been training with Park.

Hafiz, the 2002 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, was a junior coach at the Badminton Association of Malaysia before he joined the Suchitra Academy in Hyderabad in February on a three-year contract.

Sindhu had sought the guidance of the 40-year-old, who was also the coach of Awadhe Warriors in the Premier Badminton League, during her visit to the Suchitra Academy where she goes for strength and conditioning coaching under trainer Srikanth Verma.

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