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Yonex to fund Gopi's academy

May 28, 2004 20:07 IST

Pullela Gopichand's dream of building a badminton academy could materialise soon -- thanks to financial support from sports equipment makers Yonex.

Gopi, 30, who is nearing the end of an eventful career, is holding final talks with Yonex officials for the academy to come up in Hyderabad.

Sources close to the badminton star said construction work on the five-acre academy land could begin as early as June-end.

Gopi received the land from former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on a subsidised 45-year lease.

Yonex would be the main sponsor, though Gopi will have to pitch in with the rest. The concluding round of talks between the two sides is scheduled for June 11.

"The details of the funding haven't yet been fixed. Gopi will have to look for at least two co-sponsors," the sources said.

The academy would have 14 courts, a gymnasium, a swimming pool and an aerobics centre.

The academy will start off as a non-residential facility, but gradually plans are to turn it into a truly residential centre of excellence with all facilities, including a school where trainees can also complete their education.

Trainees at the academy will not be younger than 13 and older than 17 years.

M. Chhaya in Kolkata