The injury worries have been never-ending in the past few months but national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand on Saturday said he expects at least seven players to qualify for the upcoming Rio Olympics.
“We will start training in the next couple of months (after the qualification round). We expect to participate in five events, but we will focus more on training now than the tournament,” Gopichand told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Ahmedabad.
Kidambi Srikanth, PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponnappa, and Manu Attri are among the players likely to make it to India’s badminton team to the Olympics, scheduled to be held in August this year, he said.
“In the last few months some of the players have been struggling with fitness problems but they have continued to play because of qualification. Once it is done, then we have a clear four weeks of training, and two tournaments. After that, we will have six weeks to go for that, so we will focus on training,” he said, referring to the injury sustained by shuttler Parupalli Kashyap.
“Six-seven weeks of training will set all the players,” he said.
When asked about the prospects of winning a medal in the doubles event, he said given the format “two good matches at the Olympics could ensure a medal for Indian players”.
On the injury of Kashyap, the world number 17, Gopichand said he expects him to recover soon.
“It is a part of a sportsperson’s life, but it is heartbreak for him to be injured,” the former ace shuttler said.