The beaming face of India’s doubles specialist coach Kim Tan Her says it all – two main men’s doubles combinations have just notched up easy wins against Singapore in the Badminton Asia team championship on Wednesday.
Kim’s unbridled passion to play a lead role in India’s run-up to the Rio Olympics this August is pretty discernible. “Well, the Games are five months away. And at that level anything can happen,” he starts off in a chat on the sidelines of the event.
“The success of any player-coach combination depends on how well the communication channels are functioning. It is important to know each other and more importantly understand the strengths and weaknesses,” feels Kim, entrusted with the job of “building a complete team over the next five years”.
“Honestly, I loved the working environment and I am thankful to Gopi (chief national coach Pullela Gopi Chand) for the complete freedom he has given me in handling my job and also giving lot of ideas,” he acknowledges.
“Yes, the objective is to build a very strong Indian team for the major championships like the Thomas and the Uber Cups and also the Sudirman Cup,” he agrees. “There are quite a few combinations on whom (sic) we are working seriously for the last few months. And, the results in Lucknow [have been] very encouraging,” he pointed out.
Referring to the premier women’s doubles duo of Gutta Jwala and Ashwini Ponappa, Kim reminded that they are very experienced and senior players who often give important inputs about the preparations itself. “There is lot of mutual respect between us. And, let me tell you I have different areas of focus on both of them individually. Though I cannot share the specifics, yes I am glad that Jwala is a lot fitter now by her own confession,” he says with a big smile.
“Since the main target is Olympics this year, lot of effort is going on to keep this combination in right frame – mentally and physically. Yes, in an event of that magnitude, you have to just go and enjoy after all the hard work. Not think too much about the prospects or things like that,” is Kim’s advice.
Being more specific on Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy, the doubles coach feels that they are too young and can think about the 2020 Olympics also even while giving off their best in the next few months.
On leaving Malaysia and taking up this Indian assignment, a relaxed Kim says that it is part of their ‘job’ and that he is enjoying every bit of it, which is more important. “I repeat I love the working atmosphere here,” he signed off.