Chief coach Pullela Gopichand on Tuesday said that pressure to Olympic qualification in addition to the packed tournament calendar with mandatory events has not allowed any respite to the players, leaving them to deal with the lack of form and injuries.

Gopichand highlighted that almost all the top players across the globe and not just the Indians who are struggling.

“There is no respite. You are actually playing way too many tournaments. If you look at world badminton, a number of players have withdrawn (from tournaments) from Tai (Tzu Ying) to Carolina Marin,” said Gopichand.

“Ideally (PV) Sindhu should have rested but world badminton makes it mandatory for you to play all the 1000s, 750s and 500s. So we almost end up playing 14-15 tournaments which are mandatory,” he added.

Sindhu is enduring a tough patch after she became the first Indian to win a World Badminton Championships in August this year and Gopichand hoped that Sindhu will make a strong comeback and the the Indian players would achieve Olympic qualification at the earliest.

“She’s good, she’s strong, she’s our best bet going into the big tournaments. This is what happened last year as well. She did not have a great result in October, November and in December at the year-end she beat everybody. So I’m confident that she’ll make a comeback quickly,” said Gopichand, who is credited for transforming the Indian badminton.

Gopichand, meanwhile, lauded the men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy. The two became the first Indian pair to win a BWF Super 500 badminton tournament after clinching the Thailand Open in August.

“Satwik and Chirag have really been stars. They played very well and have started to look threatening and consistent at the highest stage. It comes well with getting into the Olympics with this form and it is something that I would be very happy about,” said Gopichand.

The Hyderabad-based coach was speaking after launching an initiative Football Mania’ by IDBI Federal Life Insurance in association with KheloMore, founded by former India batsman and current national selector Jatin Paranjpe.

Gopichand, who was pleased with the way the 2019 season unfolded thus far for India, once again stressed that India need to produce more good coaches. .

“We have had a decent year. I would say for the reason that the biggest tournament of the year was World Championships, and we have managed to have two medals there,” he said.

“We need to spend time and energy to identify where the good coaches are and give them awards, rewards, empower them and keep them motivated. That’s the way to move forward. Indian badminton has a lot of potential,” he said, adding “coaching as a profession hasn’t taken off in our country,” he continued.

“Till the time we produce coaches, we need foreign coaches. And even after we produce coaches, we still need them because they come out with another perspective which is needed. But we should clearly define what our country’s policy is regarding the culture of sport. We cannot keep deviating from Malaysian to Indonesian to Chinese systems based on the coaches. A country can’t change its stance and culture based on who we get. And the coach should help us get better,” he concluded.