Anmol is brave and intelligent: Gopichand

Pullela Gopichand praised Anmol Kharb’s impressive performance at Asia Team Championships.

Published : Feb 17, 2024 16:29 IST , New Delhi - 3 MINS READ

Anmol Kharb in action. (File Photo)
Anmol Kharb in action. (File Photo) | Photo Credit: RITU RAJ KONWAR

Anmol Kharb in action. (File Photo) | Photo Credit: RITU RAJ KONWAR

Anmol Kharb is a fearless and intelligent player and her emergence is refreshing for Indian badminton, gushed chief National coach Pullela Gopichand after the teenager’s impressive show at the Asia Team Championships.

The 17-year-old from Faridabad humbled world number 29 Natsuki Nidaira in the deciding fifth match against Japan, a win that carried India into first-ever final in the prestigious tournament.

Anmol, who won the senior national champion in December 2023, had also notched up a thrilling three-game win over China’s Wu Luo Yu on Wednesday in their group match.

This is her first major international assignment.

“I think the result of the two matches is a testimony that she can beat top players. To take the pressure on and show that kind of nerve, it is very refreshing. She is fearless. The kind of strokes that she plays, it all come naturally to her,” Gopichand told PTI.

READ | Badminton Asia Team Championships: Indian women edge out Japan to qualify for maiden final

“She is reading the game well, you can see her intelligence. She played beautifully. Of course, opponents will read her game in time and that’s where she needs to rework on her mistakes but she has been phenomenal.

“She fought really well and she is naturally brave and intelligent.” Indian women team had a phenomenal run this week, defeating China, Hong Kong and Japan to enter their first-ever final and Gopichand was also gung ho about the performance in the Continental championship.

“To beat China and Japan, I don’t think many teams can say that, so really happy. There is great energy in the dug out and it showed literally during the match.

“Before this tie, if you would have told me that (Nozomi) Okuhara would be beaten and we will make a comeback after Sindhu’s loss, I would have said little chance but it has been a great run so far.

“The match against China was a fantastic win. The morale was high in general. Good to see Gayatri (Gopichand) and Treesa (Jolly) pulling out the match and the way Anmol played it was amazing. Ashmita’s was also a fantastic win.” After PV Sindhu suffered a shock defeat in the opening match, doubles pair of Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly produced a 21-17 16-21 22-20 win over world no. 6 Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida to bring India back into the five-match rubber.

“Shida and Matsuyama are a top pair, and Treesa and Gayatri had to work hard, it was close and tough match. They have beaten China and Japan in two solid matches. After losing at India Open, to comeback and win, I mean this will do them a lot of good.” India will face Thailand in the summit clash and Gopichand feels the singles matches will be key.

“They have top doubles teams, so doubles will be tough but we have edge in singles and we are again counting on Anmol. So, God willing, we will win tomorrow. It is another tough match.”

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