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Gopichand: Reaching Thomas Cup and Uber Cup quarterfinals first target for India

Pullela Gopichand and Saina Nehwal

Pullela Gopichand and Saina Nehwal

New Delhi, May 8 (IANS): India’s chief national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand said that the first target of the two teams participating at the Thomas (men’s) and Uber Cups (women’s) is to reach the quarterfinals.

“We don’t want to look too far ahead. Our first target is to reach the quarterfinals. That is what we are looking at currently,” Gopichand said here Thursday.

India is hosting the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals for the first time, and a week-long training camp has been organised for the shuttlers to acclimatise to the conditions before the tournaments starts on May 18 at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.

In the Thomas Cup, India have drawn Malaysia, South Korea and Germany while in Uber Cup, they are placed alongside Thailand, Canada and Hong Kong in their respective groups.

The former All-England champion and the 1998 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist said the team is well prepared and ready to see action.

“We are pretty much there in terms of individual player preparations. Some have played tournaments and come back while some have directly come here. Each player has prepared differently as all have different plans,” he said.

Though India doesn’t boast of great men’s doubles players, Gopichand is optimistic of their chances in the Thomas Cup, which has three singles and two doubles matches in each tie.

“We have had good performances in doubles in recent tournaments. They haven’t won anything big to say that we can beat Malaysia or South Korea but against Germany we stand a good chance. Also against Malaysia, if we play really well, we have a chance to pull out one,” he said, adding that their main strength in singles play.

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