Pullela Gopichand believes India still have a long way to go before being branded as the dominant force in world badminton despite the players bringing home six Superseries titles this year. Gopichand also said that the total number of tournaments make it difficult to reach the top of the rankings.
Indian badminton has been at its peak for quite some now with players like PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, Saina Nehwal, B Sai Praneeth and others performing well in world tournaments. The nation has collectively won six Super Series title this year - apart from Srikanth’s three, Sindhu has won two and Sai Praneeth one.
However, coach Pullela Gopichand isn’t someone who is known to blurt out superlatives. Even the highest title conquests like Olympics would be called off with brief testimonials by the pragmatic coach. Hence, his take on India’s superb form on the world stage had a similar reaction.
After Srikanth’s Denmark Open title win, the coach dismissed India’s tag of a being a dominant force saying, “I think we are being too optimistic. We as a system are not ready for that sort of a thing (moniker). Unfortunately, there are not many people, who understand world level sport and it is too early to say that. There is immense potential but the system, I think a lot still needs to be done.”
Of course, the coach was impressed by the players but he was fast to think of the future preparations.
“Overall it has been a good positive year. We had some very good performances at World Championship, Super series… I think it is a stepping stone for the next 2-3 years, leading up to the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, Olympic qualification and then the Tokyo Games.”
Gopichand seemed concerned with the tournaments scheduled close to each other.
“We will have the periodization and planning for next year but it is going to be a challenge because there are too many important tournaments too close (to each other). All England and Commonwealth Games are close to each other while World Championship and Asian Games are close,” he said.
“There are tons of other tournaments which decide the rankings, so it will be a challenge. It will be a difficult year but hopefully, we will manage."
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