India's show at para badminton world championships a good sign before Paralympics, says coach

At the BWF para badminton world championships, India finished with 12 medals, including three golds and only narrowly fell short of its best-ever show at the tournament.

Gaurav Khanna with the Indian Para Badminton team.   -  Special Arrangement

India's para badminton head coach Gaurav Khanna was elated with the team's showing at the BWF Para Badminton World Championships at Basel in Switzerland on Sunday.

With the competition getting tougher with the Paralympics inching closer, the coach believes India is in a good position for Tokyo 2020.

Speaking to Sportstar from Basel late Sunday, Khanna, who had predicted the medal tally to be in double digits ahead of the tournament, said: “The feeling is great. It's 12 medals! However, the competition is getting tougher as more countries are getting involved.

"The Paralympic year is coming so every single one out there is feeling the pressure. It is extremely hard to bag even a single medal but here we are.

"It is a proud feeling. Eagerly waiting to see the response back home in India.”

READ | Pramod Bhagat wins two golds as India finishes with 12 medals at para badminton world championships

India finished with 12 medals, including three golds and only narrowly fell short of its best-ever show at the tournament, in 2015 when it won the same number of overall medals but four golds.

Khanna accepts that his expectations were higher this time. “Yes the medal expectations were a bit higher because we had a good player in Raja (Magotra) as well. Then again, we had the pair of Palak (Kohli) and Parul (Parmer). We had Raj Kumar and Parul and also the men's doubles pair of Rakesh (Pandey) and Raj Kumar. If we talk about the race to Tokyo 2020, we are doing good.”

In the men’s singles SL4 final, Tarun was forced to retire with a twisted leg midway through the first game against France’s Lucas Mazur. The Indian was leading 14-13 when he retired hurt and settled for his second silver in the championships. The coach seemed a bit worried about his injury. “It (injury) is bad and I'm in the hospital emergency (ward) now.”

READ | Para World Badminton: Manasi secures maiden gold, says being world champion 'feels great'

The coach, however, signed off on a hopeful tone.

“Regarding Paralympics, my runners are doing well. Tarun, Suhas (Lalinakere Yathiraj), and Sukant (Kadam) are still in the race.

"In SL3, it is Pramod (Bhagat), and he has taken a big lead from anyone else in the world. Maybe now, he is the final qualifier for the Paralympics and I am pretty sure we will get gold there as well.

"Parul and Palak in doubles; they're doing well. And I expect they can do well and qualify as well. Krishna (Nagar) too will make a comeback and we will find another Olympian in him.”