Pullela Gopichand asks Indian badminton players to focus on preparation

Indian badminton players started 2020 underwhelmingly, with none of the Olympic hopefuls going past the quarter-final stages.

By Olympic Channel Writer ·

National coach and former Indian badminton player Pullela Gopichand has asked his shuttlers to focus on improving their performances for the upcoming tournaments instead of lamenting the events they have missed out on.

“I think for us to think too much would be very difficult in an environment where tournaments are not sure. Your performances are the only thing you can think of.

“Prepare well. And hopefully, when you get the chance, be at the peak of your performance. I think that’s all one can say,” Pullela Gopichand told The Indian Express.

Indian badminton players Parupalli Kashyap and Saina Nehwal had earlier urged the Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Saturday, through a series of tweets, to extend the cut-off time for the Olympic qualification that is set on April 30.

BWF says otherwise

March has already seen as many as three big Olympic badminton qualifier events get either postponed or cancelled. The tournament, which included German Open, Polish Open and the China Masters, accounted for a massive 16,500 points that the shuttlers cannot capitalize on.

The world badminton body, however, believes that making changes won’t be appropriate despite acknowledging the number of Olympic qualifier events that have got shifted or cancelled due to the escalation of coronavirus cases around the world.

“Any change to the existing Olympic qualification rules will affect different players both positively or negatively, and with the present level of postponement and cancellation, BWF does not believe that making changes is appropriate,” the BWF statement read.

“With particular reference to Olympic Qualification, BWF is not at this time planning to make any adjustments to the regulations related to the Olympic Qualification period,” it further added.

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Indian shuttlers’ underwhelming start to 2020

After a decent end to the 2019 season, the Indian badminton players had to be on top of their game to improve their ranking points on the Olympic qualification list.

However, barring Indian women badminton shuttlers PV Sindhu, who reached the quarter-finals of the Malaysia Masters, and Saina Nehwal, who reached the quarter-finals of the Malaysia Masters and the Barcelona Spain Masters, none of the top shuttlers have done well.

What next for the Indian badminton players

The underwhelming start to the season makes the upcoming two months all the more crucial for the Indian badminton players and they have two big-ticket events coming up in March. 

The All England Open, scheduled from March 11-15, will offer a maximum of 12,000 points, while the Indian Open will have an enticing 9,200 points in the last week of the month.