India Open 2019: P. Gopi Chand questions umpiring standards

“I think there’s something wrong with the standard of umpiring in terms of consistency,” says India’s chief national coach.

Sumeeth Reddy (left) was “a little unlucky” to have been called for service fault in the semifinal contest on Saturday, says P. Gopi Chand.   -  PTI

P. Gopi Chand, India’s chief national coach, has questioned the standard of umpiring in the India Open.

On Saturday, Manu Attri and B. Sumeeth Reddy, the Indian men’s doubles pair, were called twice for service fault by the umpire during their semifinal contest against Ricky Karandasuwardi and Angga Pratama. According to the new BWF rule implemented in 2018, “the whole of the shuttle shall be below 1.15 metres from the surface of the court at the instant of being hit by the server’s racket.”

Read | Gopi Chand: Olympic qualification system needs to be re-examined

Weighing in on the umpiring calls, Gopi Chand said: “I think Sumeeth was a little unlucky [on Saturday]. I think when umpires don’t call you in the entire week and they call you on a particular day, I think there’s something wrong with the standard of umpiring in terms of consistency.”

‘Good campaign’

Commenting on the performance of Indian shuttlers at the tourney, Gopi Chand said: “Few of the Indians lost to each other so I would have liked them to play other opponents. The women’s doubles and men’s doubles did well. [H. S.] Prannoy had a good tournament. I would have liked [P. V.] Sindhu to wrap up the match [on Saturday]. Women’s doubles and men’s doubles had a chance to go further. I think it has been a good campaign.”

P. V. Sindhu bowed out in the semifinals. Photo: PTI

K. Srikanth was India’s most successful performer, finishing as the runner-up. Attri and Reddy reached the semifinals, as did Sindhu and P. Kashyap, in singles. The women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy exited the tourney in the quarterfinals. Also reaching the quarterfinals was H. S. Prannoy, who is recovering from a stomach illness.

Sindhu had given away four game-points in the opening game to go down to China’s He Bingjiao on Saturday.

‘Good comeback’ for Kashyap

“I’m very happy with the way Kidambi has progressed technically. I think Sindhu could have won. We had our chances in women’s singles, men’s doubles and women’s doubles [on Saturday] and they could have pulled through. I think Kashyap also has had a good run. He has had a good tournament. Considering what has happened in the last year with him, it has been a good comeback,” Gopi Chand.

The players are mature enough to avoid a burnout as they eye Olympic qualification, contended Gopi Chand. “Players have gotten sensible and they are planning with a lot more maturity than in the past. So, I hope we get some good performances as early as possible to get those slots so there’s no mad rush towards the end leading to a burnout or an injury towards the Olympics,” he said.

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