India’s top players, including PV Sindhu, may not be going through the best of times, but national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand is still hopeful of the country’s best-ever Olympics outing in Tokyo.
“We have had some good performances in the last couple of Olympics. This time we will go into the Olympics with a world champion in our team (Sindhu), and hopefully, with some good preparations, we can come back with better performances than what we have had in the previous Games,” said Gopichand.
Sindhu is currently the reigning women’s singles world champion having clinched the title by beating Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in Basel, Switzerland in August last year.
Talking about the attributes which he looks at while spotting talent, Gopichand said: “Badminton is a sport which is very physical, but also very skill-based. For us, mental attitude and physical attributes play a very important role.
“When we look at young players, we look at their potential to play at the highest level coupled with the mental strength which is very important to perform at the highest level.”
The third edition of the competition will be held in Guwahati from January 10 to 22.
Gopichand, who has produced two Olympic medallists – Saina Nehwal (bronze in 2012) and Sindhu (silver in 2016) – lauded the Government of India’s Khelo India Youth Games event.
“It’s very nice for young athletes to get a chance to perform under top international conditions,” Gopichand said.
“This experience will definitely help the youth in a big way. From an overall sporting culture perspective, I think this is unique.”
(With PTI inputs)