For the 43-year-old Lingampally Srinivas Reddy, it will be a different challenge to guide the destiny of the Bangladesh senior national kabaddi team in the forthcoming Asian Games in China.
Srinivas, who was the coach of the senior India men’s team which won the 2018 Dubai Masters, has been with the Bangladesh team for the preparatory camps - a 45-day training camp in Kolhapur - and is now mentoring the team in Dhaka.
“Except for two who have figured in the last Asiad, the rest of the team comprises young and exciting talent. They are determined to script history this time around and win at least a bronze medal,” Srinivas told Sportstar from Dhaka.
The Hyderabadi, who was the head coach of Jaipur Pink Panthers in the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) and will be coaching Telugu Titans in the upcoming season, said the mood was upbeat in the Bangladesh team, which recently won the prestigious Banga Bandhu Cup featuring 12 teams.
Srinivas is being assisted by another Indian, Chazu Ram from Haryana, and the two are monitoring the training schedules which include conditioning and strategy discussions in the morning and rigorous training in the evening.
“We are also engaging the players in real match-competition, ensuring two matches every week - within the squad or with some other big teams in the domestic circuit,” the Union Bank of India officer said.
“Kabaddi, being the national sport in Bangladesh, the patronage is apparently on the higher side. In fact, the Sports Complex (residential) in Dhaka accommodates most of the athletes from other disciplines too like football, volleyball and other sports also,” said Srinivas, who was the coach when the Indian women’s team won silver in the 2018 Asiad.
“For me, I feel this is a continuation of the faith, having done well with the Bangladesh 2023 Junior World Cup squad. Yes, it will be exciting when Bangladesh takes on the big guns in the Asian Games including multiple times gold medallist India. But once we are on the court, like any pros, our target is to win,” said the optimistic coach.
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