Juniors shuttlers doing well: Gopichand
Hyderabad: Not just the top shuttlers like Saina Nehwal and P Kashyap, but others at the juniors and sub-junior levels are also doing well in the international circuit, which says a lot about the future of the game in India, chief national coach Pullela Gopichand said here on Saturday.
"If you look at the performances of our players in the last few years, there have been very good performances. The notable one is of course the medal at the London Olympics (won by Saina). But we also won two gold, a silver and a bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi for the first time. We also won medals in the world championships," said Gopichand.
"Not only that, we got medals in the world juniors and Asian junior and sub-juniors events. These medals we got for the first time. We also got a silver at the youth Olympics," he told reporters here.
The coach further said that the youngsters have started reaching the semifinals of the world junior championships more often in the recent times.
"In the men`s singles of the junior world championships, before 2008, we never had anybody reaching semi-finals. In the last four years, we have had about four players who reached the semi-finals of the world junior champions in the men`s singles," said Gopichand.
Stating that players in the juniors and sub-juniors categories have also won medals at the Asian and World level, he said more medals can be expected in the future.
Gopichand, who was speaking on the sidelines of a function to inaugurate a week-long intermediate level coach training programme being conducted by the BAI in partnership with GoSports Foundation at the Gopichand Academy, said as far as senior shuttlers are concern, there are as many as five players in the top 50 in the world.
"We have world number two Saina, Kashyap at seven, Sindhu at 16, Ajay Jayaram at 30, Guru Saidutt at 36, Saurav Varma at 38, Anant Pawar at 44 and Sai Praneeth at 50," he said.
TPS Puri, Vice President of Badminton Association of India (BAI), who was also present on the occasion, said intensive training and coaching camps are being organised for players at various levels with some foreign coaches also being hired with the objective of grooming the shuttlers for competitions.