Bengaluru: Chief national coach Pullela Gopichand on Saturday said that Premier Badminton League helps shuttlers to boost their career but it's left to the players to decide whether they should play for the country or the PBL especially when they are recovering from an injury.
"The previous Indian Badminton League was very helpful for young players and definitely a great boost for existing players too. For instance, Kidambi Srikanth matured into a good player, taking off from the previous IBL. So, I am sure that the league will be a great help for players moving forward," Gopichand told PTI.
Asked if Saina should place country first before leagues such as IBL to gain vital rest to fully recover from injury ahead of Rio Olympics, Gopichand said, "I don't want to go into specifics of individual players, especially I am not training with and I am sure her (Saina Nehwal) team will decide that. The individuals players and their team will have to take that choice."
Gopichand was in the city to attend GoSports Foundation Conclave.
Asked whether he was currently seeing the 'Golden Era' of Indian badminton with at least six women's and men's players among the top 20 in the world, Gopichand said the country was seeing some of the best results in individual category, but as a team it has not been that great.
"Definitely, what we are seeing is some of the best results we had. We had individual players that have done well in the past, but a s a team it has not been that great," he said.
Asked whether the six players who are among the top-20 in world ranking would be able to get medals in the Olympics, Gopichand said it all depends on their form going into the mega event.
"I think all good players are capable of getting us a medal in Olympic, but it all depends on how they are faring and what kind of form they are in," he said.
Earlier addressing the gathering, Gopichand shared his vision for the development of sport in the country.
"There should be parallel systems to identify and nurture talent at the grassroots, intermediate, and elite levels, with coaches who specialize in working with athletes at these levels. It is necessary to incentivize coaches who are working at every level, and I believe that their pay should also be equal," he said.
Gopichand said he would go for a system where coaches are central force in driving policy for the development of the sport.
"I would like to see a system where coaches become the central force in driving policy, structure and frameworks for the development of the sport," he said.
Former physiotherapist of Indian cricket team John Gloster spoke about his experience as a sports science expert in India.
While explaining Australia's sporting success across the board, he stressed upon the importance of minimising the interventions while maximizing the impact, succinctly summarizing his mantra "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
With four decades of experience in mentoring some of India's top swimmers, Nihar Ameen spoke about the evolution of the swimming ecosystem in India, through his personal journey as a coach.
Having closely observed some of the world's most powerful swimming contingents at the Olympics, he said, "For any country looking to succeed at the Olympics, it is only logical to spend on a sport like swimming where there 34 medals are on offer. You are only as good as your talent pool, and increasing this talent pool is the first step towards succeeding in the sport."