India can win the next Olympic medal in the doubles: Lee Yong Dae

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Swetha Image Courtesy: Facebook 07 Nov, 2017

Badminton Legends have thrust in India as part of the Yonex Legends Vision tour. Former stalwarts Peter Gade, Taufik Hidayat, and Lee Yong Dae along with Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan spoke to the media prior to their participation in the exhibition matches of the event.

 

Excerpts from media interaction:

 

On Indian badminton evolution:

 

Peter Gade:  Because of the good performances from Sindhu, Srikanth, and Saina, Indian badminton has been evolving. It is very important for the sport to have celebrities, people who are performing on a high level and at the same time the other people know about it. That is what you are seeing now in India. In India, people also know a lot of about the guys sitting here (the legends). So that is a very good combination. We have seen a big evolution of Indian badminton players and we need the broader public to know about these players, not only as players but as stars

 

Lee Yong Dae: I’m expecting the future of Indian badminton doubles to be on rise in next three to four years. India can win an Olympic medal in the next edition in doubles.

 

The entry of Mulyo Handoyo in India:

 

Taufik Hidayat: He is an excellent coach but not just on the court but off court as well. Besides coach, he is my friend, brother and father. We can share anything and he knows how to manage the players off-court, which is his great power.

 

Thoughts on Srikanth saying the era of Chinese badminton is over:

 

Peter Gade:  In the men’s singles, you have Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei, Chen Long, and then you have some younger players coming forward and starting to make their impact like Srikanth.  A player like Kento Momoto will also come. It’s a very exciting period for men’s singles and hopefully we will see some great matches and fights. Now, badminton has become very open in men’s singles. So, may be in next Olympics, you will see a group of stars from men’s singles, not just players from the top ranked but also emerging shuttlers.

 

Asia has been the powercenter since quite a time now. But, European nations are making their way too. Is badminton becoming a global center for badminton?

 

Peter Gade:  For me, I still see  Asia as the badminton powercenter. Now may be we have more different countries taking part from Asian and Europe, we have seen Carolina Marin from Spain and a few others. I have been working with the French team, trying to produce players, a few things are happening but I still see, the power centre is in Asia. Denmark is also producing players for the highest-level and a few other European countries, it is good for the game if we have more countries taking part. We still have a lot of work to be done in Europe to bring badminton to the same level of Asia, who has lot of attention and resources.

 

On the upcoming Indian players and end of China’s dominance in badminon:

 

Lin Dan:  In India, you see players like Saina and Srikanth, who have been doing well. The junior shuttlers are doing very well too. In China, young people are getting involved into the sport currently. In high schools, they have their groups. So, sooner or later we will be back.

 

The emergence of Viktor Axelsen as the World Champion:

 

Peter Gade:  Viktor is very young player and is very ambitious. He is willing to put his 100% effort in the sport. And that is what he is doing and I have a lot of respect on him. He is big boy  so he has got a lot of range with his style of play in attacking in a powerful way. His challenge for the coming years will be to remain stable, perform at every single tournament at the highest level, it’s a challenge for him to take care of his body and his preparations in the right way. He still needs to develop his game to be at the top in men’s singles.

 

Shadowing of the men’s singles by emerging of women’s singles:

 

Peter Gade: In women’s singles we have a lot of personalities coming forward from the different countries. And’ it is just the beginning. It is mainly because of the Chinese domination and the more open on the global circuit, you will see reaction from the Chinese women’s singles. Let’s hope we continue to have very healthy competition, which is good for the game and spectators.

 

Rivalry between Lin Dan and Lee Ching Wei:

 

Lee Chong Wei: Lin Dan and I started our career in Asian juniors. Our rivalry has been very good on the court, but off-court we are very good friends. I respect him. Everybody wants me and Lin Dan to play against each other. As lot of youngsters doing some good shows in badminton, for me and Lin Dan it will be tough to win titles now. The next big rivalry I think will be Viktor Axelsen and Kento Momota.

 

The idea behind the Legends Vision initiative:

 

Peter Gade: With the aim of having wider audience around the world and to get more young people to badminton, Yonex made this initiative possible and I think for all of us, it makes sense as individuals; we did a wonderful job in our sport for many many years. Lee Ching Wei and Lin Dan are still doing it. We have a lot of fans all over the world. (laughs) Together we can send a very clear message, a powerful one to the Badminton fans around the world, not only badminton (playing) countries, but also hopefully in countries where badminton needs to be bigger.

 

Finally, on the alleged emotional ‘letter’ from Lin Dan to Lee Chong Wei that went viral on social media:

 

Lin Dan: No, it was not real. 

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