What's the story?
The Badminton Association of India (BAI) is looking to appoint top Indonesian coach Agus Dwi Santoso as India's singles coach to address the fall in the performance of India's badminton stars in the last year or so.
In case you didn't know
Sindhu has not won any title on the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Tour since the World Championship Gold in 2019 and has even struggled to get past lower ranked players in the initial rounds of these tournaments.
Saina and Srikanth are in a worse situation as they are in a race against the odds to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics 2020. With their rankings falling outside the top 20, they would need some superlative performances in the upcoming tournaments to make the cut for the Olympics.
Since the sudden departure of the Korean coach Kim Ji Hyun, who was with Sindhu when she won the World Championship Gold, the Indian team is left with just one singles coach in the form of Park Tae Sung but the performances under him have been anything but satisfactory. Keeping this in mind, BAI has been searching for a specialist coach for the singles players for a long time but to no avail.
Heart of the matter
Santoso has coached many world and Olympic medalists including the Indonesian great Hendrawan and BAI believes that he will be able to address the falling standards in Indian badminton, especially in the singles arena.
Santoso had recently resigned as the Thailand national team coach and was instrumental in Kantaphon Wangcharoen becoming the first Thai player to win a World Championship medal in the men's singles event.
It is reported that Pullela Gopichand, who was on the lookout for a singles coach, spoke to Santoso after he had resigned as the Thai team coach and convinced him to take up the job. It is learnt that both the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the Sports Ministry have approved his appointment.
Santoso is expected to arrive in the first or second week of March and his initial appointment will be till the Tokyo Olympics. His contract could be extended until the next Olympics if the Indian shuttlers can put up a good performance at the Tokyo Olympics.
BAI's secretary-general Ajay Kumar Singhania confirmed that Santoso's appointment has been approved by SAI and they are waiting for the official clearance from the Sports Ministry.
"When we had advertised for the coaching position, his was the only application we received. We forwarded it to SAI. His application was considered and later approved by the coaches' committee. As and when we get the official ministry's clearance, SAI will offer him the contract and he should should be with us by early March itself"
The badminton fraternity would be eagerly awaiting Santoso's appointment as the players cannot afford to lose any more time in this Olympic year.
All the badminton fans in India would be hoping that Santoso can turn around the failing fortunes of the Indian badminton stars and help them in not only qualifying for the Olympics but also in winning medals at the showpiece event.
Also Check Out: Tokyo Olympics 2020 Schedule
Follow Sportskeeda to get the full Tokyo Olympics Schedule, Medal Tally and more.Published 28 Feb 2020, 16:03 IST