In Focus

Pullela Gopichand Calls for Resumption of Topflight Badminton

By: Editor
Date: 17 Sep, 2020
Image Courtesy: IndianExpress
Chief Coach of the Indian Badminton Team Pullela Gopichand believes that the time has come for topflight badminton to resume both in India & worldwide and believes bio-secure bubbles have to become the norm in the near-term future.

Speaking at a webinar organized by IDBI Federal Life Insurance, Athletics Federation of India and FIT India, the former All England Champion felt that the fact that there is still a lot of uncertainty with regard to the resumption in the BWF calendar and other badminton tournaments – and this is one of the prime causes for players unwilling to train at full tilt.

“I believe players are not trusting the fact that the badminton calendar is going to start very soon. So, there is a bit of a lag from the players' side trying to get together, especially if you are a doubles team, to get together and train,” he said.

Outlining how the forced break from corona virus pandemic effected the players, he opined that different players have taken it differently and make use of the time in their own way.

“For a few of the players, it's been good because they are making good use of the pandemic, I won't say for all as some of the players resuming training are not in the best shape which they could be," opined the hard taskmaster.

However, the lack of training or fitness isn’t a major concern because he believes that as soon as the players start competing at the highest level, they will be quick to come back to their pre-pandemic fitness levels. He is hopeful that the Danish Open will happen, despite the fact that the events on either side of it – Thomas & Uber Cup and the Denmark Masters have both been scrapped by the governing body, the BWF.

“In all probability the Danish Open will happen and once it starts the players will work more

"Sport across the world has started and it means that we need to start as well because we don't want to be left behind,” said the decorated Coach. 

International competitions aside, Pullela Gopichand believes that sports overall have to look at ways to make a comeback in the country. Everyone has to look at ways and means to adopt and while complete normalcy may yet be difficult, a start has to be made. 

"A league among top players, that is possible. So, if you are willing to quickly divide the players in our country as per their levels and start competing, it is a much faster way of creating those bubbles.

"The bubble and other sports have shown that it is possible to ensure people can compete and the players are wanting to compete," Gopichand added.

Looking back at the six month long forced break, the Coach believes that the younger lot and grassroot level players are more likely to be hampered. The top players will find themselves the extra time to prepare for the Olympics next year but it’s the juniors who will find the break in momentum harder to cope with.

“First two months, maybe it was rest, recovery, the next two-three were about starting practice but now it's time to start looking at preparing for the future," 

“My concern is not for Olympic-bound but under-13, 14 or 19-year-olds. A six-eight-month break is a break in momentum. So, my concern is more for them. For Olympic-bound players, they will just take the time to prepare better for the Olympics." explained Gopichand.

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