Badminton

Legendary badminton coach to help PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth 

Indonesia's Agus Dwi Santoso has answered India's call to mentor its star badminton players ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

By Andrew Binner ·

It's been six months since PV Sindhu's last badminton tour victory.

The World No. 6 has participated in 13 BWF events since winning the world title in August last year, reaching just one final.

In a bid to help Sindhu as well as her compatriots Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth, the Badminton Association of India have recruited Indonesia's Agus Dwi Santoso to mentor its top shuttlers in the run up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

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The situation

Rio 2016 silver medallist Sindhu is one of her nation's top medal prospects for Japan, as India continues the search for its second-ever individual gold medallist. The first was shooter Abhinav Bindra at Beijing 2008.

Her troubles started with the loss of her South Korean coach Kim Ji Hyun, who guided Sindhu to World Championship gold in 2019 before leaving to attend to her sick husband.

“I have had some ups and downs [since the Worlds]. It’s fine. I am working on my mistakes" - PV Sindhu to The Hindu.

If India's No. 1 shuttler can maintain her current world ranking, her place in Tokyo will easily be safe.

The same cannot be said for Saina and Srikanth however, who are both lingering outside the top 20 and in desperate need of some superb results in their upcoming tournaments to make the required top 16.

One area in particular of Sindhu's game that has been highlighted for improvement is her defence, which is failing her on crucial points.

"I am working on my defence" she told The Hindu. "I have learnt to be a bit more patient during rallies. I am working on all that.

“I think every player is doing well. Players in the top 15 in the world are of same standards. You have to wait and see. Everybody is working hard for Tokyo.”

Santoso's sparkling CV

Santoso's credentials suggest he has the required experience for the task. He has previously coached several world and Olympic medallists, including Sydney 2000 Olympic runner-up Hendrawan.

The former Thailand coach also guided Budi Santoso to the All England Open 2002 finals and helped Busanan Ongbamrungphan clinch bronze medal at the Jakarta Asiad.

Another to profit from his tutiledge was South Korea's Son Wan-ho, who ascended to World No. 1 in men's singles rankings in 2017.

"It will be good for the players who are trying to qualify and prepare for the Olympics, not only for Sindhu, who is currently under Park," Sindhu's father PV Ramana told the Times of India.

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Olympic qualification rules

The BWF rankings will determine the number of shuttlers India can send to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and is scheduled to be released on April 30.

A total of 172 slots are available for qualification in badminton over five events in Japan, including men’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.