CWG, Asian Games made it tough for players: Pullela Gopichand

While Saina Nehwal had clinched gold at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year, India’s only other medal at a big event came in the mixed team category at Gold Coast.
File image: Indian badminton coach P Gopichand flanked by PV Sindhu andSaina Nehwal during a press conference.(PTI)
File image: Indian badminton coach P Gopichand flanked by PV Sindhu andSaina Nehwal during a press conference.(PTI)
Updated on Nov 14, 2018 06:05 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Chief national coach Pullela Gopichand on Wednesday said that while it may not have been a great season for Indian badminton, he was happy with the performances of the players given there were a number of big events.

“Overall it has been a tough year. We hardly had any time for preparation. We had the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, world championships. Whatever time we had wasn’t enough to really work end-to-end on mistakes,” Gopichand said on the sidelines of the launch of the Mumbai Games.

While Saina Nehwal had clinched gold at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year, India’s only other medal at a big event came in the mixed team category at Gold Coast. PV Sindhu has lost all five finals she has played this year. Kidambi Srikanth won silver at the Commonwealth Games. In contrast, he had a dream run last year — winning four Superseries titles — while Sindhu bagged two.

“But still at the end of the year we have Srikanth and Sindhu ranked high, we have had medals at major events – Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, world championships. That was our target for this year. I am happy with the performances and looking forward to the coming year,” Gopichand said.

On being asked if scheduling played a role in the dip in performances, the 44-year-old said the mandatory norm of having the top-15 players participate in at least 12 events perhaps took a toll on Indians since they had to take part in the Commonwealth and the Asian Games as well. “I think the whole world has to follow it. I think it’s been a little tough for us because we are one of the few countries that have to participate in Commonwealth and Asian Games,” he said.

Gopichand also called for an ecosystem that will help more players take up coaching to nurture young talent. “Education of coaches is just one aspect of it, but really nurturing of coaches and ensuring your top players and your top brains are converted into coaches...they stay motivated and work with the right kind of players is what is important.

“The other aspect that is also very important is that you cannot look at coaching in isolation. Tournament planning, scheduling and the entire ecosystem in which the player is produced have to be in a way which is coach-led and athlete-centric. That is the model which is successful and the one that we need to adopt. We are far away from it right now. We have to make it conducive for top players to come into coaching. If it is a job which is respectable and paid well, why not?” he said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Bihan is a multimedia correspondent and works with the sports desk in Mumbai. He mostly covers cricket but his interests include football, tennis and badminton as well.

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