Tokyo Olympics 2020: Parupalli Kashyap feels the next three weeks are very important to Saina Nehwal's Olympics qualification hopes
- As per Kashyap, a good training period of 4-6 weeks would help Saina a lot.
What's the story?
Former Olympics bronze medalist, Saina Nehwal is struggling with her form and may find it hard to secure a place in the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Her husband and coach, Parupalli Kashyap has opined that the next weeks will be very important for Saina as a patch of good performances will help her reserve her Olympics berth.
The 29-year-old badminton star from Haryana, Saina Nehwal has been one of India's most successful female athletes across all sports. She had made a name for himself by winning the bronze medal at London Olympics in 2012. Nehwal also is a former multiple gold medallist at the Commonwealth Games. Despite her fantastic record at the global events, she has not been able to perform well in the race to Tokyo Olympics.
The former world number one is ranked 17th in the rankings currently while she has not won a title since her triumph at the Indonesia Masters in 2019.
The heart of the matter
Speaking to Hindustan Times on Friday (31st January), former Commonwealth Games gold medalist, Parupali Kashyap expressed his thoughts about his wife's Olympics dream. He said:
"Saina has to qualify. She is in kind of a tight situation. But I am hopeful that she will get through. There are 8-9 tournaments (till the cut-off date). The upcoming three-week period is important for her. Hopefully she can stay healthy and a couple of (good) results will do."
Reflecting on Saina's recent struggles on the badminton court, Kashyap added:
"Her body has taken a toll the last year. You've been seeing the unfit Saina for so many months. She was playing well in 2018 but after that it's been a lot of pain for her. Then she had pancreatitis in addition to continuous acute gastroenteritis. She was even hospitalised when I played the semis in the Korea Open (September 2019)."
Further describing the pain that Saina suffered, he continued:
"I don't know whether it was the side effects, but when I spoke to the orthopedic he said that everything might be linked as she also had pain in joints, knees, Achilles (heel), and shin constantly for six months. The problem is when we plan training blocks, you have some injury and it goes for a toss. One or two weeks go in rest and then you play the tournament (without enough training) because you have to."
Kashyap feels that in the women's singles arena being one percent fitter takes a player in a different league. According to his opinion, Nehwal would bounce back once she regains full fitness as she has won a medal at Olympics and she will soon reach a stage where she will start fighting for the titles. As per Kashyap, a good training period of 4-6 weeks would help Saina a lot.
Saina Nehwal is at the 22nd rank in the race-to-Olympics rankings. The top 16 players will make the cut to the mega event thus, Saina will soon have to bring her 'A' game to the table.Published 31 Jan 2020, 22:45 IST