Mumbai: Compared to the highs achieved last year, this season has been a topsy-turvy ride for Indian badminton. But given the rigorous and cramped schedule, head coach Pullela Gopichand remains content with the way shutters have performed on the big stage despite lack of preparation time.
“Overall its been a tough year, we hardly had time for any preparations. We had the Commonwealth Games, the Asian Games, World Championships – the big events. Whatever time we had was not enough to really work upon the mistakes,” Gopichand said during the launch of the Mumbai Games.
In 2017, Kidambi Srikanth reigned supreme with four Superseries titles to his name. PV Sindhu, on the other hand, won two finals, missing out on the World Badminton Championships and World Superseries Finals by a whisker.
A horrific knee injury also didn’t stop Saina Nehwal from bagging the Malaysia Open title and bronze at the World Championships. But apart from Saina’s podium-finish at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, it has been a quiet year.
Srikanth has made it to only final – at Gold Coast while Sindhu has reached five and shockingly, has ended up on the losing side on all instances.
"At the end of the year, there are quite some positives to take. We had Kidambi Srikanth, PV Sindhu ranked high. We have won medals at the big events and I'm glad that we have been successful. That was our target for this year.
"The schedule is quite difficult for us because we are one of the few countries that have the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games in the same year. Plus players in the top fifteen need to play a mandatory number of events,” the 44-year-old added.
Although the shuttlers have looked in good rhythm, the failure to capitalise in crunch situations has been the deciding factor. Gopichand asserted that better preparation could solve the problem in future.
“Every area needs work. If you look at the way Srikanth has played he lost to quite a couple of opponents frequently whether its Kento Momota or Chou Tien Chen. But if you play big events you have to beat the big names.
"You need to be well prepared. Unfortunately, we have had these events back to back. We hardly had a week to get ready after the Asian Games. So there isn’t really enough time for preparation and I was to really see a longer stint,” he explained....