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'Focus on process, don't obsess over Olympic qualification': Pullela Gopichand

National badminton coach Pullela Gopichand has advised shuttlers to focus on process rather than Olympic qualification.

Pullela Gopichand Badminton

Chief national badminton coach of India Pullela Gopichand.


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 17 Jan 2024 6:54 AM GMT

With the 2024 Paris Olympics in sight, the legendary player turned coach Pullela Gopichand on Tuesday asked the Indian shuttlers to focus on the process rather than obsessing over the Olympics qualification.

Race to Paris - Olympic qualification rankings will be sealed on April 28 this year when the rankings for all five disciplines are out, with singles players inside the top 16 and doubles players inside the top 8 securing the berths.

"I think the Olympics is still a long way. There are still about eight tournaments to play. I don't think it's right to go after that as a player. I think it's too much pressure unnecessarily to start thinking about the race to Paris as a primary role.," Gopichand told reporters on the sidelines of the ongoing India Open Super 750 in New Delhi.

"I think it's important to stick to the process, I think the points, the rankings, and the qualification will take care of itself. That's how I would want the players to look at it. Because everybody is asking the same question. Everyone's saying the big one is Paris. I think if you do the right things every day, Paris will come and we won't have a problem," he added.

Among Indian shuttlers, HS Prannoy in men's singles, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty in men's doubles are currently poised to secure qualification, while two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu, currently recovering from a knee injury, will have to make a strong comeback to consolidate her position in the top 16 of women's singles rankings.

The women's doubles pairings of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand, and Ashwini Ponnappa and Tanisha Crasto are also in the fray to be in the top 8 of Race to Paris rankings.

"As a coach, it's important that you keep pushing the players, and you expect more from the players. We've had a great year, we had some very good wins in events that matter whether it's World Championships, whether it's the Asian Games, I think we did well there," said Gopichand.

India has won three medals in the Olympics to date and all of them have come in the women's singles with Saina Nehwal winning a bronze in the 2012 London Olympics and Sindhu winning a silver and a bronze at the 2016 Rio and 2020 Tokyo Olympics respectively.

With Satwik and Chirag in red-hot form, Indian fans will be expecting a medal in the men's doubles category this time.

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