After becoming the first Indian shuttler to win the coveted BWF World Championship title last year, PV Sindhu has failed to lift any trophy on the circuit. Apart from the World Championship, Sindhu consistently failed to raiser her level in the crunch matches and her ordinary form extended throughout the 2019 season.
But chief national coach Pullela Gopichand feels Sindhu’s poor run of form is not a concern and the Rio Olympic silver medallist will be able to turn the tables around in Tokyo. “Sindhu has struggled a bit. But she is someone who has consistently done well in the highest tournaments and I do believe that going into the Olympic year, knowing well these are the areas to be worked on, I am sure we will be able to sort it out,” Gopichand was quoted by PTI on the sidelines of the launch of the book ‘Dreams of a Billion: India and the Olympic Games’.
The former All England champion (Gopichand) also admitted that the crammed BWF itinerary is causing a problem but at the same time believes that onus is on a player of Sindhu’s calibre to adapt to the calendar instead of complaining about it.
“I think the crammed schedule is a problem for the top players, but also to be fair, I think the whole world it’s it’s been an issue. As a top player, it’s her (Sindhu) duty to adapt without complaining,” Gopichand further added.
“So I think, yes, Sindhu is working on some of those mistakes, and hopefully we’ll be able to sort it out.”
Gopichand exuded confidence that Sindhu will be able to turn it around in time ahead of the Olympics.
“We have a team with Park (Tae-sang) as a coach, we have her trainer Srikanth and the physio working together. And hopefully, in the months to come and leading up to the Olympics we will have some good preparation,” he said.
The 46-year-old Gopichand is hopeful that Sindhu, the Rio Olympics silver medallist, will be able to win a medal at Tokyo, despite her dip in form.
“I do believe that she has a bright chance. And having said that, I think whether it’s the Tai Tzu Ying or Carolina Marin, whether it’s the Japanese or the Thai girls, I think there is definitely a good amount of competition. But I am saying who’s done well in the past, and I do believe that with some good preparation, she will do well.”
While Sindhu is assured of a ticket to Tokyo, time is running out for Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth to make the cut but Gopichand said the Indian duo can still qualify with some good performances in a couple of tournaments.
London Olympics bronze medallist Saina and Srikanth suffered opening-round losses at the Thailand Masters and are currently placed at the 22nd and 26th spots respectively in the Race To Tokyo BWF Olympic Qualification ranking.
Each country is allowed two singles quota provided their ranking is inside top-16 within the cut-off date of April 28.
“I think it’s it’s about seven tournaments going into the Olympic qualifications, I think they will need to perform really well to qualify for the Olympics,” Gopichand said.
“And they are at the moment of borderline, one or two good performances can clearly put them in a good space to qualify for the Olympics.”
Talking about the future of Indian badminton, Gopichand said the next batch is getting there but stressed on the need to invest in the young generation.
“Over the years, we’ve not really invested in our second generation. And it’s important that we start giving them good exposures and good coaches so that they kind of get to the next level.