Since he was appointed chief national coach for para players in 2014, Gaurav Khanna has won many accolades for training his students who have won 319 medals internationally. When Pramod Bhagat won the gold medal at Tokyo Paralympics in the men’s singles badminton championship, it was an emotional moment for him as he embraced his coach Gaurav Khanna. He later told the press, he is in love with Sir who is like his father and elder brother, and whatever he has achieved at the world championship and Tokyo is all due to him.
Gaurav Khanna initially started training deaf players and became a coach for two world deaf games and Asian deaf games. In 2014, he was appointed chief national coach for para players and the players trained by him gave stupendous performances in international events. Based on his past achievements, and training skills, Gaurav was considered the best choice for Tokyo Paralympics in 2021 as he had been the national coach and was mentoring the players well to win the medals in the prestigious tournament.
Gaurav Khanna meticulously planned the training of para-badminton players after the first lockdown by setting up his academy that would be totally under his control. A four-court academy equipped with sauna, steam, jacuzzi, hydrotherapy, and a massage center in the premises slowly took shape for the differently-abled athletes. To achieve his ambitious dream, Gaurav mortgaged his house to take a loan of one crore for the training center. Once the first lockdown was withdrawn, para shuttlers started training in the newly made courts at the academy and Khanna’s passion and love for the para games started showing promising results. When the second wave hit and the lockdown were imposed again, Khanna remained resilient in his efforts and made two outdoor courts to cater to the players’ training requirements for Tokyo Paralympics.
Gaurav Khanna is a true Indian by heart and his love and dedication for the country is the motivating force behind training the differently-abled players for international events. He is a down-to-earth individual and his passion for helping the handicapped has given him a higher purpose in life. When asked about the difficulty in coaching para players he said it is very challenging but immensely satisfying. Gaurav further said for differently-abled players, one has to customize the training schedule for every individual as each player brings his or her own set of challenges. One has to train players with limb deformities and that requires a lot of coordination in terms of footwork. Each player is different and one has to constantly focus on removing the shortcomings to improve their performance on the court. As per Gaurav, it has been a wonderful journey so far for him as he gets immense job satisfaction from training differently-abled athletes.