NEW DELHI: India’s Chief national coach Pullela Gopichand is confident of fielding India’s biggest-ever badminton contingent at the Games.
“Looks like we will have our biggest ever contingent at the Olympics this time and if things go well we will have an entry in every event. Of course, there are important events including India Open Grand Prix Super Series and All England Championships in the lead up and we will know exactly where we stand. All our players have been guilty of not being consistent this year. I hope we are able to address that problem,” Gopichand said here on Wednesday.
The qualification process ends on May 5 and all players ranked among top 16 will get direct quota in the singles. K Srikanth (world No. 9) and P Kashyap (world No. 15) in the men’s singles and Saina Nehwal (world No. 2) and P.V. Sindhu (world No. 12) are eligible for direct qualification as of now. The Indian contingent will have tournaments like the Thomas and Uber Cup and Asian Team Championship in February to improve their rankings.
Gopichand also quoted, “Objectively everyone wants to get clear answers (on Rio Games)… unfortunately I won’t be able to say. But we can look for a better performance. There is still some time left between April end and now. I hope to have the strongest team at Rio.”
“Kashyap has recovered and has started training. He should be ready for PBL. For Srikanth, the end of the year seemed a lot better in the sense that at least the Indonesian Open gave us glimpses of where he could be. He’s a young player and had big victories early on. It’s time for him to adapt, get new strokes,” Gopichand said.
With the rankings in hand, India for the first time will have two men’s singles players, Srikanth and Kashyap for the men singles event.