Chief national doubles coach Tan Kim Her believes Indian shuttlers are capable of not only qualifying in all the three doubles events but also win medals at 2020 Olympics if they are given more time and exposure at the international level.
“We have to start planning for 2020 Olympics. It is not a one or two years plan, it is a four year plan. So I have to think about the combinations and players available and have to consider a lot of things and develop a back-up for 2020 and 2024 Olympics,” Kim Her told PTI on the sidelines of the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold tournament here.
“I want to qualify in all three events, not just men’s doubles or women’s doubles and I just don’t want them to participate but to win medals. That is my ambition. I always believed nothing is impossible. In Olympics, it is all about soaking the pressure. You can see even in Rio, so many top players who were expected to win medals, crumbled under pressure,” he said.
Elaborating his plan further, Kim Her said, “We have good facilities at the academy. We have enough support staff, it’s good there but what we need is more exposure for the players, some junior players need to play more events because if you don’t play you don’t know where you stand. I need a minimum of 10 international tournaments in a year for the junior players.
"My programme is for four years. For the first year, they should just go and play for experience, we don’t expect any results. In the second year may be we will see some strokes, third year onwards it is time to peak and fourth year that’s the time we want to see some results,” added the Malaysian, who have coached in South Korea for three years and was in England between 2005 and 2010.
During his tenure as chief doubles coach, Indian mixed doubles pair of Sikki Reddy and Pranaav Jerry Chopra clinched two Grand Prix titles in Brazil and Russia and are currently ranked World No. 15, while Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy became the first Indian men’s doubles pair to qualify for the Rio Olympics.
Kim Her said though he’s happy with their progress the Indian doubles players need to start analysing their games better and target the quarterfinals at the important events to reach the next level.
“I am very impressed with Sikki and Pranaav. It was within 10 months that they have been together that they won tournaments. They have same playing style and understanding on court and supporting each other is very good. We always discuss together, what they need to do to win tournaments,” Kim Her said.
“Now their world ranking is 15, while Manu and Sumeeth is 20 plus. In order for them to make it to top 10, it is the hardest part. So now when I speak with them, I tell them that they have to do a lot of analysing in order to jump to top 10.
It is not going to be easy. They have to start targeting quarterfinals first at super series and Grand Prix Gold events to increase their ranking.
“I think Manu and Sumeeth played to their level at the Olympics and we can’t suddenly expect much from them but hopefully with this experience they can motivate themselves more and go to the next level,” he added.
Kim Her said his challenge was to create a good second batch of players and hoped a tournament like Syed Modi will give the necessary exposure to the talented young shuttlers.
“I need to form the second batch. Now we have some senior players such as Manu—Sumeeth, Jwala and Ashwini. But I have to prepare the next group. We have some players such as Satwik and Chirag, Dhruv, some players have performed well and I am impressed with them,” said Kim Her, who was with Badminton Association of Malaysia for five and a half years as a coach of the back—up team.
“Our players don’t have the experience but in such events they get a chance to play everything out what they learn and practice during the training. It is a very good exposure for junior players such as Satwik and Chirag, who played the world No. 4 Denmark pair. They get to play with world class players.
“Even in PBL, the players got to train with oversee players and get some tips from Korean players. So they are looking good but I think we need to give them some more time to develop their confidence,” he added.
Tradition of many years
Denmark is one country that has produced some top doubles player over the years and London Olympics silver medallist and twice All England Champion Mathais Boe feels it has to do with the long tradition and culture of focusing on doubles that has helped them.
“I think it has to do with culture and tradition. In Denmark, already at an age of 6 or 7 years olds we know what are the demand of the youngsters. It takes tradition of many years to develop players and also the amount of practice. When I joined the National center we had some best players and I soaked in all the experience and wanted to become like they are and then get better than them,” Mathias Boe said.
Asked what India needs to do to produce quality doubles player, Tan Boon Heong, a former World No.1, reposed faith on fellow Malaysian Kim Her.
“I guess you already have one of the best guys to do the job. Kim Her is now working with the team and I think just give him some more time,” he said.
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