India can go on to win the Sudirman Cup, says coach Vimal Kumar
Team India scripted history as they won their maiden bronze medal at the Asia Badminton Mixed Team Championships, and that has given hope to the fans that team can win Sudirman Cup too. Former national coach Vimal Kumar feels that after the string performance in Asia, India can go a step further.
“Once Satwik comes back, we will have a strong doubles pair, and our singles have always been strong. Prannoy and Sindhu are also capable of beating anybody. So I feel we have a decent chance to win the Sudirman Cup,” Vimal, who was present when the men’s team won the Thomas Cup title last year, told PTI.
“The ladies doubles have also shown good level, especially Treesa and Gayatri beating the Malaysian top doubles pair (world no 4 Tan Pearly and Thinaah Muralitharan) will give them a lot of confidence. We can't say it's too ambitious (to win Sudirman Cup). We can. It is exactly what we did in Thomas cup. We can be hopeful after this performance.”
After making it to the semis in the continental championship, India sealed their spot for the Sudirman Cup too, and nearly beat China in the semis. In fact, it was an opportunity lost as both the singles players, Sindhu and Prannoy, lost their matches to relatively unknown Chinese players.
“It was a good bronze medal. Though I am a bit disappointed as we had a good chance of beating China yesterday. It would have been good to beat China. It is the first time in history we came so close to beating them. We have always struggled in mixed-team events,” Vimal said.
“Creditable performance from men's doubles and women's doubles. I will give them a lot of credit. They did a good job, unlike the singles. Normally our strength is singles but even though Satwik couldn't play, the doubles pairs played well against Hong Kong and China. The women’s pair especially showed marked improvement.
“It is disappointing that singles lost, if one of them could have won, it would have taken us to finals. Many players from China are injured, so they gave a chance to these guys who were injured for some time.”
While all the doubles teams showed their potential, singles was disappointing, not in just one match against China, but Hong Kong too. “Prannoy was playing well, so it was a little disappointing. If he had taken the second game, he could have found a way. He didn't have any idea how to play as he was playing for the first time, so he struggled.
“Sindhu was comfortably placed after the second game. After the injury, I think she is struggling to vary the pace during rallies, when to push the pace and it let her down.”