New Delhi: Renowned Malaysian doubles coach Kim Tan Her, who is set to join the national badminton team next month, is confident about India's qualification in doubles category at next year's Rio Olympics Games.
The Malaysian, who signed a five-year contract last month, said the women's doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa, and men's doubles pair of B Sumeeth Reddy and Manu Attri are "almost there".
"There are some good players in India like Jwala (Gutta) and Ashwini (Ponnappa), Sumeeth and Manu. They are playing well, they are on the right frame and right track their ranking is also up now. So I think there are almost there," Tim Her told PTI.
"I think Indian doubles players have the potential to qualify for next year's Olympics. I am extremely positive and if they qualify, anything can happen at the Olympics. Of course, I will have my contribution when I reach India next month," he added.
India's long wait for a specialist doubles coach ended last month when Badminton Association of India (BAI) appointed Kim Tan Her. Tan Kim Her had signed the contract in the capital on July 24 and is likely to join the team by next month end.
Asked about his plans, the 43-year-old said: "I have a short term and my long term plan with the Indian team. The short term plan is to see the players qualify for next year Olympics and the long term plan is to groom the junior players for Olympics 2020," he said.
"Last two weeks I was there in India and I spent some time with the junior players. I spoke to a few of them and I was quite impressed. I think they have the potential, they are very intelligent, very disciplined and focused.
"I am sure with a little guidance they can reach the higher level in world badminton," added the Malaysian, who has worked with Korea, Japan and England team.
India will be fielding its biggest contingent at the prestigious World Championship with Manu and Sumeeth, and Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Akshay Dewalkar representing the country in men's doubles.
While the combo of Arun Vishnu and Aparna Balan, and Kona Tarun and N Sikki Reddy will lead the challenge in mixed doubles, in women's doubles, besides Jwala and Ashwini, there will be Pradnya and Sikki, and the young pair of Dhanya Nair and Mohita Sahdev in the field.
Kim Tan Her said he will keep a close watch on the doubles players during their campaign at the World Championship. "I need to know the players well, I need to spend time with them. Of course, now that I am joining as a coach, I will be watching the players very closely when they play in the World Championship next week," said Kim Tan Her, who will draw a salary between USD 7,500 and USD 8,000 per month.
"I will have to analyse their game. I think the players from Japan, Korea and China, are physically very strong, they are faster and have more power. So this is where we have to look to improve in terms of power and variation," added the 1996 Olympics semifinalist.
Indian women doubles pair of Jwala and Ashwini have been asking for a specialised doubles coach ever since the country's last doubles coach - Indonesian Edwin Iriawan - left in 2013.
India's chief badminton coach Pullela Gopichand had said he wants Kim Tan Her to ensure maximum qualification for the Olympics Games next year.
"I want Kim to ensure that we have maximum qualification for the Rio Olympics. The idea is to sharpen the skills of these players whether it is Jwala-Ashwini, Sikki-Pradnya, Manu-Sumeeth, Akshay-Pranaav and try and get as many qualification as possible as it is still a long way to go," he had said.