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Badminton

Each year better than the last for Indian Badminton: Pullela Gopichand

Each year better than the last for Indian Badminton: Pullela Gopichand
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Published: 22 Jan 2019 5:57 AM GMT
Speculations and excitement regarding India's chances at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is stemming from all counters. At a recent media interaction, Badminton chief coach Pullela Gopichand weighed in on India's Olympic medal chances by saying that India would win its first Olympic Gold medal in the discipline. "Each year is better than the previous one," he was quoted as saying by PTI. "In 2008 (Beijing Olympics) -- the quarterfinal results was the biggest result, in 2012 (London Olympics) we had the first-ever bronze (Saina Nehwal), in 2016 (Rio Olympics) we had the first-ever silver (PV Sindhu) and hopefully, 2020 (Tokyo Olympics) we will have the first-ever gold,"
Gopichand said on Monday. He also added that a perception shift in Indian badminton has been in the making for a long time as before, the focus and expectations used to be limited to Mens Singles players of the era alone. But now, the advent of players like Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu on the global stage has changed this perception. "Well, yes. For a long time before these girls (Nehwal, Sindhu) came out, badminton was primarily remembered for men's singles players, whether it is Nandu Natekar, Suresh Goel, Prakash (Padukone) Sir or Syed Modi. "It is how that whole thing was. The change to that (perception) happened (and for that) Saina (Nehwal) was important.
"We needed somebody with that kind of push, hunger, will to win, because (being) the first person to come out and win is very difficult," he was quoted as saying. It is great to see what Sindhu has achieved -- World Championship medal, Olympic medal and all other medals - and you can still look at her and say 'she has two Olympics to go at least', and that is something fantastic," he added. He also commented saying that the change in badminton over the last decade has been nothing short of "fantastic" and even credited the league format in Premier Badminton League for the positive development development
"Fantastic, I would say. The sport has jumped in all parameters. Prakash (Padukone) Sir played leagues in Denmark, Vimal (Kumar) played in UK, I have played in Germany and today we host the biggest league in the world (Premier Badminton League).
"Things have changed. We have (Carolina) Marin coming here to play, Viktor (Axelson) coming here to play. Tournaments in those countries are stopped because we have leagues more popular than theirs. "The earnings of top players have gone up. They are encouraging a whole set of people to take the sport forward," he signed off.
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