Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty can win a medal in 2020 Olympics, says doubles coach Tan Kim Her
The two have broken into the top 30 and are now the India No. 1 men's doubles pair.
What’s the story?
India’s national doubles specialist coach Tan Kim Her heaped lavish praise on the young men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, who have made quite an impact in their first season on the Superseries circuit. The fast-rising India No. 1 team has broken into the top 30 and are now at a career-high 27th in the world rankings.
In a recent interview with The Times of India, the Malaysian gave his thoughts about the progress of India’s doubles teams, adding that Rankireddy and Chirag have a chance of winning a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, if they can remain injury-free.
“This year Satwik-Chirag pair made a breakthrough by reaching quarters. Next year they should play semifinals and in 2019 they should play finals. If there is no injury, Satwik-Chirag will win a medal in 2020 Olympics,” said Kim, as quoted by the Times of India.
In case you didn’t know
Satwik and Chirag have had a fantastic breakthrough year and reached their first Superseries quarter-final as a team at the Korea Open. They followed it up with yet another quarter-final the very next month at the French Open where they nearly upset the defending champions Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen in the last-eight clash.
Having been outplayed 5-21 in the first game, the Indian team made a spectacular comeback to force a decider and fought till the very end before succumbing to a 5-21, 21-17, 17-21 defeat. It made them the first Indian men’s doubles team to reach two Superseries quarter-finals in a season.
The heart of the matter
Following Tan’s appointment by the Badminton Association of India in 2015 on a five-year contract, India’s doubles pairs have been steadily improving and making their mark worldwide. Tan acknowledged their rise although he wants to see them achieve more in the last three years of his tenure.
The Atlanta Olympics men’s doubles semi-finalist also has high hopes on the newly-formed mixed doubles pair of Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa. The two, who were recently crowned the national champions, have the potential of breaking into the top 20 in a year, he felt.
Tan also underlined the need for doubles role models in India much like how Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and Srikanth Kidambi have become the torchbearers for singles.
The India No. 1 pair has taken a break from next week’s Hong Kong Open Superseries after a hectic few weeks on the circuit. Rankireddy, however, will still be in action in mixed doubles alongside Ashwini Ponnappa.
Doubles shuttlers have looked way more confident since Tan’s arrival and have been giving the elite pairs a run for their money in the international circuit. Rankireddy and Shetty have certainly been the standout performers in doubles.
They are young, highly spirited and very hungry for success. They are still developing physically and can become a brute force in the next 2-3 years. If they can keep injuries at bay, they can certainly make Tan’s words come true.