Dubai: Former All England Champion and India’s Chief National Coach Pullela Gopichand became the first professional badminton player to receive the prestigious 10-year Dubai Golden Visa in recognition of his outstanding achievements in the sport.
Speaking on the occasion Gopichand said “I am really honoured and humbled that the Dubai government has considered me for the Golden Visa and I am looking forward to making many more special memories here,” This will also give me an opportunity to work on our Gulf Badminton Academy which we have opened in Dubai last year and expanding to the Arab Countries."
After retiring from his playing career, Padma Bhushan Pullela Gopichand founded the Gopichand Badminton Academy in 2008 and has produced several badminton players including Saina Nehwal, P. V. Sindhu, Sai Praneeth, Parupalli Kashyap, Srikanth Kidambi, Arundhati Pantawane, Gurusai Datt, and Arun Vishnu. Saina Nehwal went on to win the bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics, while P. V. Sindhu went on to win the silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics, the bronze medal at the pandemic-hit 2020 Summer Olympics, and also became the first Indian to win the gold medal at the BWF World Championships. Pullela Gopichand also served as the official Indian Olympic Badminton Team coach at the 2016 Rio Olympics held in Brazil.
The Golden Visa was instituted by the UAE government in 2019 as a new system that allowed investors (minimum of AED 10 million) and entrepreneurs, as well as professionals and specialized talents in the field of science, knowledge and sports, to apply for it.
Other sportspersons who have been granted the Golden Visa by Dubai include footballers Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba, Roberto Carlos, Luis Figo and Romel Lukaku, tennis superstar Novak Djokovic, Indian tennis star Sania Mirza and her husband and Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik.Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan and Sanjay Dutt have also received their visas.