Bengaluru: With 2016 capping off a wonderful year for Indians in badminton, one of the sport’s legendary figures, Prakash Padukone, said on Friday that Indian badminton and its future has never looked better.
At an Olympic Gold Quest’s workshop to help provide useful information to youngsters in the city, Padukone said, “This is the best time for Indian badminton. It could be the platinum age also with the talent and infrastructure we have. Badminton is moving in the right direction. All I hope is that the Badminton Association of India can be a little more proactive and start academies in the North and Northeast and hire committed coaches. The base will then be strong and we can challenge and catch up with China.”
Sindhu can reach World No. 1
P.V. Sindhu was the standout performer of the year, clinching the Olympic silver, while Saina Nehwal had bit of a rough time with injuries often playing the spoilsport. The duo, however, are also firmly fixed as the faces of the sport in the country. A feat, the 61-year-old credits to their immense physical fitness.
“Special efforts are being made by these two players. Technically, both boys and girls are equally good in India, but these two are physically strong. My suggestion to other girls would be to focus on getting stronger and fitter. I think that’s where the difference is,” he said.
He was also quick to admit that Sindhu has the capability to emulate her contemporary, Saina, and rise to the world number one ranking.
“If they plan well, then it is just a question of being consistent. It’s only a matter of time. She looks much more confident. Maybe it’s the way she prepared for the Olympics. She had 4-6 weeks and there was no pressure then, because she hadn’t done so well. Subsequently, she looks more confident and sure of herself,” he said.
The Padma Shri awardee also encouraged youngsters to look into the scientific side of the game for mental and physical toughness. “So much science is available these days, exercises and breathing techniques. But youngsters don’t have the patience. Most of the sports psychology workouts are boring and time consuming that has to be done over long periods of time to get results. If you want to reach the top, you have to do it all,” he said.
Meanwhile, Saina also reiterated the importance of fitness in the sport. “Fitness growth in badminton is huge. Your skills are obviously there, but unless you are fit, there’s no use of those skills. Many a time you go play stupid matches, but end up on a winning note because you are supremely fit. Your fitness level will decide your ability to comeback in the match,” she stressed....