Gopichand thinks India might be short on the court at 2020 Olympics

Indian national coach believes planning could have been better during the Olympic cycle.

By Olympic Channel Writer ·

A lean run of form coupled with recent tournament cancellations has put Indian badminton stars’ dream of making the Olympic cut in jeopardy. 

According to the national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand, India might not be able to send the desired number of shuttlers to Tokyo 2020 if the current situation persists. 

“We still have some qualification (tournaments) left so I am hopeful that we can achieve as many qualifications as possible,” Pullela Gopichand said on the sidelines of an event in New Delhi.

"But we are in a tight spot with some tournaments getting cancelled and some players on the borderline of making it or not making it. 

“Ideally, we would have wanted the maximum numbers going but I don’t think we will be able to achieve those numbers.”

If the former All England Open champion is to be believed, the Indian badminton players could have avoided the situation if their calendar was planned better. 

Gopichand bats for better planning

The 2019 season was largely a disappointing one for Indian badminton players as they found it difficult to cope with the demanding nature of the Tour.

PV Sindhu and B Sai Praneeth’s medal-winning runs at the World Championships were the only stand out performances.

“I think it was important not from the point of view of injuries but to get back to base training and actually get their foundations stronger and then push the bar,” he said.

“That’s a window we missed. The planning could have been better. Year on year, the lack of a system hurts because we don’t control the scheduling of players tournaments. 

“That is an aspect that definitely needs to be controlled. Hopefully, for 2024 (Paris Olympics), we don’t make those mistakes,” he said.

Life is more than sports

Though Gopichand admitted that the unexpected cancellation of events was a difficult one of the Indian badminton players to take as most were looking to rake up ranking points at these events, he stated that one had to look beyond the game in such situations. 

“For us, the Olympics comes after four years. It comes once in a lifetime for most athletes. It’s big and people prepare, plan and train for it,” he said.

“But at the end of the day it is important to understand that life is important and sport is only a part of it. 

“Sometimes in our focus, we tend to lose that perspective and its incidents like these which remind us that,” he pointed out.