Pullela Gopichand identifies PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth as role models for next generation

first_imgPullela Gopichand said the growth of Indian badminton in the past few years and that being steered by the men’s singles success this year has helped the sport grow immensely in India.Gopichand believes that with the showing of the singles players this year, the upcoming generation will have role models as they prepare to take up badminton as a serious career choice.”Badminton has only grown in the past few years, getting better each year. It’s good to see the women do well but this year the men have done very well. Srikanth, Prannoy, Sai, the kind of tournament they have won gives me a lot of confidence on the abilities of our players.”More importantly, the next generation will have role models in men’s singles and women’s singles and even doubles, who have done well this year. It’s actually very good for the sport of badminton,” Gopichand said in an exclusive conversation with India Today’s Boria Majumdar.WATCH FULL INTERVIEWPV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth echoed Gopichand’s point of view and expressed their happiness over the growth of badminton in the country.Srikanth even went on to add that when he has fans coming along for pictures, he feels elated being part of the transition and success of badminton in India.”I definitely feel India is doing very well because earlier there was just one Saina, one Sindhu and then one Srikanth but now there are many more players, which is also very good for the sport. You see five or so players in the top 50, Prannoy has done really well and then Sai (Praneeth) and then Sameer and more. We have been doing well and I think we will do much better in the coming years,” Sindhu said to India Today’s Boria Majumdar.advertisement”I am liking being recognised and loved because when I started playing the sport, it wasn’t that popular but since the last 5-6 years, the sport has come a long way and I am really happy to be a part of it and see the transition. Now when I go out, people do come for pictures and it is happening because people have started to follow badminton and I feel it’s success for the sport,” Srikanth said to India Today.Sindhu has won one Superseries title this year, along with reaching three major finals and she knows people expect even more from her.She said she enjoys those expectations and added that even she wants more medals.”Expectations are always high and there are responsibilities. So, I would not say no to say that, the more you win, the more you want. Even for me, I also want more medals and I feel this is only the start for me and there’s much more to come. 2018 should be a very big year because there are Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and many more tournaments. So, definitely even I want to win more,” Sindhu said.On the other hand, Srikanth called 2017 a dream year for himself and said he looked forward to stay fit for the next year and performing even better.”It has been a fantastic year. In the beginning, I didn’t even imagine winning four Superseries titles and this year has been more than a dream for me. So I am really very happy with the way it went.”2018 is definitely going to be a big year for me and all I am thinking of is to stay fit and I can do that and keep training hard and go with my 100 per cent, I can do well. Next year there are big tournaments like All England and Commonwealth Games without much break and then Asian Games and World Championships the same way, so it is really important for me to stay fit throughout the year,” Srikanth added.Srikanth shared that the Rio Olympics quarter-final loss to China’s Lin Dan played a big part in his resurgence.”That Rio Olympic quarter-final (lost to China’s Lin Dan) I was very disappointed but he played just five per cent better than I did and I told myself that I need to get better and may be a 10 per cent improvement will make me win tournament and I think this year I managed to do that and that gave me the results.”Both Sindhu and Srikanth praised each other and said the year has just been great overall for badminton in India.”It has been a fantastic year for him (Srikanth) and he has been doing really well. Four Super Series title in a year is not easy and that too, doing it twice back-to-back. He is doing really well and so overall, it has been great and he can do much better,” Sindhu said.advertisement”She (Sindhu) has grown as a player after the Rio Olympics and I think she started playing well in each Superseries and reached world No.2. So, I think she has consistently played well this year and reached many finals and semi-finals and it’s really good to have so many top level players to train with, it helps a lot,” Srikanth said.last_img

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