At the Pullela Gopichand Academy, one of the top nurseries of Indian badminton in Hyderabad, emerging and existing stars are getting their 'Genomepatras'. The objective is to work up their fitness-physical, mental & emotional to face the tough & competitive global arena via a better understanding of their genetics.

Making this possible is Mapmygenome, a personal genomics and molecular diagnostics company in collaboration with the Academy. India’s recent crop of global players including Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Parupalli Kashyap, Sai Praneeth, Prannoy, and Kadambi Srikanth who won a unique double--Indonesian and Sydney Super Series championships in a week are all trained by Pullela Gopichand (former All England champion) at the Academy.

Mapmygenome and Gopichand Academy have created an athlete-oriented genetics report. As a pilot, some athletes were tested for genetic information and their personalised genetic report called 'Genomepatri Fit’ has been created. Following this extensive genetic counselling sessions were held with player, physical trainer, physio, sports nutritionist worked with genetic experts to chart out lifestyle and dietary changes to reach optimum fitness and health levels.

Integrating genomics into sports training

Genetics is a recent dimension added to enhance sports persons performance levels. Mapmygenome has completed the genome maps of some of the top players at the Academy and is working at integrating genomics into regular sports training and talent nurturing, said Anu Acharya, CEO of the Hyderabad-based company.

The association with the Academy began before the Rio, Brazil Olympics in 2016 in a small way. “We feel it helps in optimising performance when added to the regular, rigorous training. Can help in improving reaction time on court, learning from mistakes, selecting best food based on genetic make up. For example , if some athlete is found to be Gluten intolerant then the correct and best food can be provided," Anu Acharya told BusinessLine .

The Gopichand Academy’s popularity peaked when PV Sindhu won the Silver Medal (the best by an Indian woman so far) in badminton at the Olympics. According to Amit Malik, member of the Management team at Gopichand Academy, as part of the intense training at the Academy all factors which help in minimising injury and ensure total physical, mental and emotional health are added. In this direction the Academy has partnered with Mapmygenome on a pilot scale to assess the utility of genetics in training.

He said “Leveraging genetic information for improving athletes performance is in very early stages. It is useful in athletics where event mapping can be easier through genetic information. Badminton being a very skill-oriented sport has seen diverse set of top players with different genetic make-up”.