Need to find specific coaching pattern: Gopi

Issue needs to be addressed with a long-term perspective, says chief National coach

“Yes, it was definitely not bad. We produced a World champion in Sindhu and a World championship bronze medallist B. Sai Praneeth. We have had good results from Lakshya Sen, Sourabh Verma and in doubles from Satwik and Chirag,” says chief National badminton coach P. Gopi Chand in an exclusive chat with The Hindu.

After another tough session with World champion P.V. Sindhu at the Gopi Academy here on Thursday, Gopi believes he has a bigger task ahead — producing an Olympic champion at next year’s Tokyo Games.

Consistency factor

Are you happy with the results in 2019?

“There is a lack of consistency, but it is because of poor management of the international schedule. Sometimes you can’t complain as they (Indians) are competing against each other to be in the race for the Olympics,” Gopi says.

“We still don’t follow a clearly demarcated system, like addressing the coach’s role in training and deciding players’ schedule,” he avers.

On his role, Gopi said: “It is only advisory. I cannot impose myself in the given structure and format. Sometimes, out of respect, some players may listen. My advice is not binding.”

Is there a need to change the coaching style for some of India’s premier shuttlers, especially in singles?

“Definitely, coaching patterns are changing. We need to find our path with clarity, a specific programme,” he says. “It is not just about the Olympics. The problem needs to be addressed with a long-term perspective.

Despite the strain of striving tirelessly Gopi is not about to give up because of a faulty system. “I would still love to see an Olympic medallist in Tokyo.”

So, will there be a point when you might just give up? “No way. For the simple reason, who else will do this. One should understand I am only raising relevant issues and want answers from the top,” he says.

Not too concrned

On Sindhu, Gopi says: “Not too concerned. Seen her go up and down, has the ability to raise the bar on her day and she has done it at the Olympics and World championships.” On Saina: “Yes, she is struggling. But, I believe it is an issue of fitness.”

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