Even after the historic Thomas Cup win, coach Pullela Gopichand has no time to rest and he is planning how to take Indian badminton to even greater heights. The next on the agenda is to have at least 10 players in top-30 in each category, which will make the team even stronger in the future.
“My target is to have at least 10 Indians in top-30 world rankings in every category like singles, doubles, etc. If we have that many players they will keep winning regularly,” Pullela Gopichand told the Times of India.
“Now the women’s team performed badly, but no one noticed because the men did well. Men were not up to the mark at the Olympics but no one noticed because women did well. So, if we have a number of players in the top rankings, titles will become a regular feature,” Gopichand reckoned.
As of now, there are five players in the top 30, in men's singles -- Lakshya Sen (9), Kidambi Srikanth (11), B Sai Praneeth (19), HS Prannoy (23), and Sameer Verma (29). Only two, PV Sindhu (7) and Saina Nehwal (23) fall within the top-30 range in women’s singles.
In the doubles rankings, only one Indian pair features in the top 30 for each category. Chirag Shetty/ Satwiksairaj Rankireddy are eighth in men’s doubles. On the other hand, Ashwini Ponnappa/ N Sikki Reddy are 23rd in women’s doubles while Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Ashwini Ponnappa are 26th in mixed doubles.
Now to achieve this goal, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) appointed 30 new badminton coaches and named Gopichand as the chairman of the development committee.
“The need of the hour is more coaches and our president Himanta Biswa Sarma appointed 30 new national coaches on Sunday. We will send them to whichever area we need. All of them will be on the BAI payroll. These are the kind of decisions which will go a long way in helping the sport,” Gopichand stated.