India’s badminton doubles coach Flandy Limpele reckons that the men’s duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty can pocket the country’s first doubles medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics if they strengthen their defence and work on overall consistency.
Satwik and Chirag have had a phenomenal season this year. The pair clinched their maiden Super 500 title at the Thailand Open and subsequently, finished runners-up at the French Open Super 750. Their victorious achievement saw Satwik-Chirag grab a career-best ranking of world number 7. They were also nominated for the ‘Most Improved Player of the Year’ (singles and doubles combined) award by the Badminton World Federation.
“They have made good progress this year but there are few things which they need to change. They have the capability to win a medal at Olympics but they need to be more consistent in terms of shot selection, on-court strategy and have to improve overall,” Limpele, who was roped in by the Badminton Association of India (BAI) in March, told PTI in an interview on Friday.
“They have good offence but their defence is not good. Their performance has been up and down and Olympics is not very far now, so they need to work on their defence. Also, once they have more experience, they will do well against the top international pairs,” said the Indonesian.
Limpele also revealed that bad attitude of the players and lack of team work is affecting the growth of doubles in India.
“It has to do something with the attitude of the players. It becomes a problem in doubles because it is a team effort. It is not individual sport, so you need a caring partner, you need to train and spur together, push each other,” he said.
“They need to have the same target, need to be on the same page, if they are not, it is not possible to win tournaments. Sometimes they are not receptive to my ideas, not putting enough effort, they are thinking individually, not as a team.”
A change in the mindset will eventually reflect in positive results, believes Limpele. “All countries have different cultures but as a coach I have my own ideas which I want to change. The thing is, it is not very difficult to do that, if they can do that, doubles will fast develop in India.
“As a coach, my job is to change all that, make a good team work, and I will try to do that, that’s how Satwik and Chirag came up. They are most receptive to my ideas and so the results are showing. I’m there to help.”