India can become badminton powerhouse: Gopichand


Deepankar Sharda

Chandigarh, january 9

While Indian badminton is seeing a large number of tournaments, all-time great Pullela Gopichand, chief coach, Indian team, feels there’s still a scope of improvement by improving the coordination among all stakeholders.

Keep working to achieve aim

A player should put his head down and keep working on achieving the aim. Defeat doesn’t mean to get depressed. It brings an opportunity to know about mistakes and start working to improve ourselves. — Pullela Gopichand, Chief badminton coach, India

Talking on the sidelines of the Yonex-Sunrise All-India Junior Ranking Badminton Tournament at the Sector 38 Sports Complex here today, Gopi mentioned that there was no dearth of talent as the sport witnessed a great response from across the nation. “In this tourney, we have finalists from Haryana and Delhi— which is usually dominated by other sports. So, this is a good sign,” he said.

“During our times, there were hardly 40 players and the entire championship would end up in two courts. With the passage of time, this trend has changed. In this particular event, there were 1,100 entries and one can imagine the pressure and popularity of the game. The result of many matches came after a fight of nearly 50 or 60 minutes, which again shows the level of talent we have in the country. However, there’s still a scope of improving conditions among all stakeholders for better results. We are having nationals, states, school meets and sometimes even Khelo India Games or trials running simultaneously. We need to coordinate well in order to streamline the process of having multiple championships at a particular time.”

Gopichand expressed his happiness on India winning international tournaments, but maintains that there’s still a lot to do for becoming the world’s badminton powerhouse.

“Thomas Cup was a huge win for our country. The victory makes me believe that India has the capability of becoming the world’s badminton powerhouse. I would like to see Indian shuttlers winning more number 1 slots at international levels. The depth in talent is very good, but winning top positions is needed to prove that India is a world leader in badminton,” said Gopi.

While talking about functioning of state associations and level of coaching, he added that the coaches need more opportunities and the system should provide a conducive environment for better results.

Harsher punishment for age fraud

The Indian legend also batted for having harsher punishment for age frauds at junior circuit. “A tougher punishment should be brought into the rules for age violations. It’s not fair for a genuine player,” added Gopi.

Unnati, Gagan win title

Haryana’s Unnati Hooda won the girls’ U-19 title by defeating Anmol Kharb 21-2 21-15. The state’s Gagan overpowered a tough challenge by Delhi’s Ginpaul S to win the boys’ U-19 title 21-14 13-21 21-12. In the mixed doubles final, the pair of Arulmurugan R and Srinidhi N defeated Bharath Sanjai S and Gnanadha Karthikeyan 21-13 21-15, while the pair of Manya Ralhan and Tanvi Sharma won the girls’ doubles U-19 title by defeating Vaishnavi Khadkekar and Sania Sikkandar 21-15 21-17. Nicholas Nathan Raj and Tushar Suveer won the boys’ U-19 title by defeating Bharath Sanjai S and Aswath Harrish SP 21-17 21-17.