Seemingly undeterred by Saina Nehwal’s decision to part ways, Chief National badminton Coach Pullela Gopichand says his priority now is the upcoming Asian Games and he is focussed on training India’s medal contenders for the prestigious multi-sport event.
Gopichand, who has remained tight-lipped about Saina’s decision to train under Vimal Kumar in Bangalore, said his priority right now is preparing the shuttlers for the Asiad to be held in South Korea later this month.
“This has been a moment for Sindhu. She played some fantastic badminton in the last week. I would let this day and week just be for her, about her victory rather than something else,” Gopichand told PTI referring to Sindhu’s bronze medal feat in the recently-concluded World Championship.
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“As far as I am concerned, the Asian Games is two weeks away. We need to prepare everybody to do their best at the Asian Games,” he said here last evening after returning from Copenhagen.
The 2001 All England Champion said the competition was tough in the World Championship but the Indian shuttlers could have done better.
“It is a big event. I think there are many countries which are on par or a little better than us. So, at the end of the day, we could have gone better but also, we could have come back with the medals. So, I am okay with this,” he said.
Observing that the Asian Games is going to be a tough event, he hoped that the Indian players would come up with some impressive performances.
“The Asian Games is going to be definitely a very tough event. I am hoping that we will get some good performances,” he said.
Replying to a query, he said this season has been tough with important events like Commonwealth Games, World Championship and Asian Games lined up to take place in a span of a few months.
“We have had a tough event. Last two months have been tough, where the Commonwealth Games which is very important, World Championship which is very important and now the Asian Games. So it is definitely tough.
As a coach, as a player, think it is very important that we keep forgetting (the losses) and moving on,” he said.
Gopichand said he would not like to make any changes to the way the players prepare to improve the performances as only less than a fortnight is available.
“It is only two weeks left. We leave on 15th (of September). Today is 2nd (of September).
Only 12 days left. So, really I don’t see much change which can be done. Wherever the players are comfortable, I think we should let them train and focus on the next event,” he said.