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What’s the story?
The Chief National Coach of the Indian badminton team, Pullela Gopichand has advised his players to focus on their performance rather than on doubts arising due to several tournaments being called off in the wake of the coronavirus flare-up.
In case you did not know
Gopichand, who recently won the ‘Sports Leader of the Decade Award’ at the IBLA in Mumbai, is credited for training star badminton players P.V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal towards winning Olympic medals.
Heart of the matter
Many Indian badminton players like Saina Nehwal, K.Srikanth, Sourabh Verma, Parupalli Kashyap amongst the others are pursuing their dream to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. April 30 is the last date for the Olympic Qualification and with the threat of the fast-spreading coronavirus; the athletes are desperate to secure their places for the upcoming quadrennial event, despite several tournaments being called-off.
Gopichand, however, stressed that the players need to focus on giving their best at the tennis court instead of anything else. He told the Times of India, “I think for us to think too much would be very difficult in an environment where tournaments are not sure. Your performances are the only thing you can think of. Prepare well. And hopefully, when you get the chance to be at the peak of your performance. I think that’s all one can say,” he said.
As of now the All England Super 1000(March 11-15), India Open Super 500 (March 24-29) and the Malaysia Open (March 31 – April 5) is open but the fate of several other tournaments could be in danger. It will be interesting to see if these tournaments eventually do happen and if the Indian shuttlers can perform at their best and improve their ‘Road to Tokyo’ rankings to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.