Pullela Gopichand has launched the fundraiser ©Getty Images

Indian national badminton team head coach Pullela Gopichand has launched a "Run to the Moon" initiative aimed at raising funds for badminton academies and sport foundations.

The project spearheaded by Gopichand, a two-time Commonwealth Games medallist turned coach, will begin on June 20.

Badminton players Ashwini Nachappa and Malathi Holla are among the athletes backing the idea, with support coming from companies IDBI Federal Life Insurance and NEB Sports.

The initiative calls on athletes and members of the public to run across different parts of India.

The target is for a collective distance of 384,400 kilometres, the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

"Coaches and sports staff have been hit the most during the lockdown, with virtually no income during the last three months," Gopichand told Indian newspaper The Hindu.

"We hope to raise funds with this initiative to support and sustain the most important link in the sports chain."

Pullela Gopichand is the head coach of India's national badminton team ©Getty Images
Pullela Gopichand is the head coach of India's national badminton team ©Getty Images

The project will take place over one month, concluding on July 20.

Participants will be able to register to take part until June 18, with a small entry fee required.

Funds raised will be donated to the participants preferred sporting organisation, including the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy, the Mathru Foundation and Ashwini’s Sports Foundation.

Similar projects have run in several countries during the coronavirus pandemic, which has impacted the finances of sporting organisations.

British Rowing, Rowing Canada Aviron, Rowing Australia and Rowing New Zealand last month partnered on a similar the "Row to the Moon" challenge.