Mumbai, Nov 15:
Chief national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand termed the year gone by as a “tough” one, but expressed satisfaction that the target to do well in major events was achieved.
“Overall it’s been a tough year for us. We hardly had any time for preparation. Overall we had the Commonwealth Games, the Asian Games and World Championships- the big events,” Gopichand told reporters on Wednesday.
“And whatever time we had was not enough to really work end-to-end on the mistake. But having said that we still have (Kidambi) Srikanth ranked high, (P V) Sindhu ranked high.
“We have had medals at the major events, whether it’s the Asian Games, CWG or World Championships. So I am happy with the performances (of the shuttlers) and looking forward to the coming year,” the chief national coach explained.
Gopichand was speaking after launching the ‘Mumbai Games’, which the organisers have claimed to be the world’s first ever city-level franchise-based multi-sport, multi-age sports extravaganza.
Srikanth is currently ranked ninth among men in the world, while Rio Olympics silver medalist Sindhu is ranked second among the women.
“In this year, we had the major events- Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Championships- and we have been successful (in those) and that was our target for this year.
And I’m happy that at the end of the year they (players) are able to maintain their rankings,” added Gopichand.
Another top shuttler Saina Nehwal won the CWG gold in April defeating compatriot Sindhu in the final.
The Indian team also clinched the gold metal in the team championship at CWG held in Gold Coast, Australia.
Gopichand also stressed that extra effort was needed to be done in all the areas.
“Every area needs work. If you look at the way Sriknath has played, he has lost to a couple of them (players) quite frequently, whether it is (Kento) Momoto (Japan) or Chou Tien Chen (Chinese Taipei). There have been a few losses there which have been consistent, but if you have to win the big ones, you have to beat them and you have to prepare for them, he said.
“And unfortunately we had back-to-back (tournaments), we had a week after the Asian Games, came back after two tournaments. We had another week now, so this is not enough time for the preparation and I would like to see a little longer stint,” the former All England champion said.
Asked whether it was important for top shuttlers to pick and choose events, Gopichand replied, “This year was a tough one, with the Commonwealth and Asian Games. It was tough to pick. And also players in the top 15 have to play a mandatory number of event. So that makes it even more tough.
It’s easier said than done.” Quizzed further whether scheduling could be attributed as the reason for the dip in form, Gopichand shot back saying, “The whole world has to follow it, it’s tough for us as one of the countries which has to take part in the Asian and Commonwealth Games in the same (year). So we had it a little tougher.”