Pullela Gopichand calls for postponement of Tokyo Olympics 2020
- The Indian badminton team's head coach feels that lack of exposure will be a big issue ahead of the Olympics.
- Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth have a tough task of qualifying for Tokyo 2020.
Indian badminton team's chief coach Pullela Gopichand has called for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to be postponed, citing various factors that he feels are 'unfair' to contest the Games as per schedule in July.
The coronavirus 'pandemic' has resulted in multiple qualification events being cancelled or postponed indefinitely, which now sees the likes of Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth among others facing a race against time to make the Tokyo cut.
Gopichand opined that the players should receive enough match practice and cannot walk into the tournament with just a few weeks of training.
If Olympics happen as per schedule, as of today people should be participating in tournaments. They should be going for exposure tournaments and planning their schedule. It's not that Olympics happen in July and people start training on June 20.
Having coached Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu to Olympic medals in the past, Gopichand claimed that there is a pressing need for players to be exposed to high-quality competition. However, with the travel restrictions and major lockdowns in place, the 46-year-old feels that the 'uncertain atmosphere' is not ideal.
He was also sceptical about the situation clearing out anytime soon.
I don't see things changing after two weeks as well. It is important we listen to WHO. I feel it is difficult to imagine Olympics being held in July.
With his academy also closed until March 31st, Gopichand raised concerns over the possibility of re-starting training even after two weeks. However, he added that in case the Olympics does take place in July, he will travel with the team to Tokyo.
If IOC goes ahead with the Olympics, I will take my team.
Also Checkout: the full Olympics 2020 Schedule
Also See: Badminton Schedule 2020Published 20 Mar 2020, 11:27 IST