National badminton coach Pullela Gopichand outlines pivotal period for Olympic conditioning.
India's national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand has identified the three months which he believes will be crucial for ensuring his shuttlers are to arrive in Tokyo for the Olympics in tip top condition.
“I think May, June, July will be the key months for preparation. But hopefully, we’ll have a big contingent getting in and qualifying, whether it’s men’s singles or women singles or doubles. I think especially with the format of the Olympics, whoever qualifies has a chance in Tokyo,” said Gopichand at the launch of Badminton Gurukul in Mumbai.
While the Indian shuttlers won’t be having any big-ticket competitions as such in May, June will see the athletes competing in the notable 500 Series Thailand Open, and the Super 1000 series Indonesia Open.
Following her World Championship title in August, which raised the expectations of the nation to an all new level, PV Sindhu subsequently saw her season plateau.
Her best result since that historic triumph was reaching the quarterfinals of the French Open.
Gopichand acknowledges her downturn in form but has full confidence the Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist will come roaring back once more.
“I think she is too good a player to not come good. Yes, the results haven’t been there but we will turn it back. We need to make some changes and we will get her back."
“It’s just ending up they are playing tournaments after tournaments, so there has hardly been any time for preparation. Having said that, I think sooner or later, we have to ensure that people get back on track and start preparing,” the 46-year-old added.
Young Lakshya Sen was a phenomenon in 2019, emerging as a real talent for the future.
After giving a hint of things to come by reaching the final of the Polish Open, Sen went to win the Belgian International, Dutch Open, SaarLorLux Open, Scottish Open, and the Bangladesh International Challenge in 2019.
Gopichand heaped praise on the 18-year-old, highlighting his impressive technique and temperament and emphasizing that he belongs at the highest level.
“It’s great because he has done it very quick so far. With the ranking system, it’s important that you can get into the 30s as quickly because then you start getting entries in the big events.
“He is right up there, and he will get entries to play the All England and stuff, but I do believe he is someone who belongs at the level. He is young, and with the confidence he has, with the strokes he had and the novelty, which I think will be very exciting to see,” Gopichand said.