Gopichand spells out “a system driven” path ahead for Indian badminton

The national coach warned that the step ahead could be difficult.

India’s target should be to get gold, says Gopichand.   -  PTI

Former All England champion and national coach P. Gopichand spelt out the way forward for Indian badminton, but warned that the next one or two steps would be difficult as the game had progressed much already.

Addressing the gathering at the Badminton Conclave, Gopichand said, “Our system needs to be integrated. We are not in control of the government mechanism. We have to sit together and take suggestions. We don’t have to agree on everything, but we need to agree on some thing.”

Gopichand was very particular that “a system driven, coach and athlete centric” scenario would be the ideal way to progress.

Recalling the bronze by Saina Nehwal in the London Olympics and silver by P. V. Sindhu in the Rio Games, Gopichand said, “To go forward from here, we have to get the gold. It is not going to be easy. It is important that we are together as a system.”

Gopichand also acknowledged the good work of P. Kashyap and K. Srikanth in reaching the men’s quarterfinals of the last two Olympics and said that a better result in Tokyo 2020 would mean two medals or two better medals, in badminton!

Judiciousness needed

He also appreciated the need to have many top-class training centres so that young players live closer to their home. “India is not a country, but a continent. It is like Europe. We are not a rich nation and need to use our resources better,” he said.

He found fault with the national ranking system, which does not recognise the performances in the international arena. He conceded that age fraud was a big issue. More importantly, he felt that the coaches and support staff were not treated well financially; he mentioned that the coaches tended to hang on to their players rather than let them go to the higher levels, as the “recognition of coaches was dependent on the recognition of their players”.

On her part, Saina Nehwal was candid in saying, “I am proud that I am in this era. The game has become very popular. Everywhere I go, people recognise me. The youngsters are doing well. With good guidance we can achieve a lot more.” P. V. Sindhu was quite happy that the new president listened to everyone patiently and promised to implement all the good ideas. “We will continue to give our best,” Sindhu assured.

Gopichand, along with Vimal Kumar and the president of Gujarat Badminton Association Prof. S. A. Raval, were presented meritorious awards for their services to the game, on behalf of the Badminton World Federation (BWF).

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