Gopi Chand prepared to take the grind

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P. Gopi Chand.
P. Gopi Chand.

V.V. Subrahmanyam

HYDERABAD: India's chief National badminton coach P. Gopi Chand says he always knew that his job was not going to be a `happy-happy' affair and there would be hiccups somewhere down the line.

"It is a tough job but I was prepared to work," he said in a chat with The Hindu on the sidelines of the on-going National camp at Gachibowli Indoor Stadium here.

"The coach's job is to keep filtering the talent available to produce a champion. I don't see any reason why we should not produce a champion performer in the next few months," remarked Gopi.

Putting a system in place

"We are trying to put in place a system which many of us are not used to. So there are bound to be some dissenting voices about the style of functioning or the training pattern," he said.

Without naming the `disgruntled' trio of National champion Chetan Anand and the National doubles champion Jwala Gutta and Shruthi Kurien, Gopi said he was not going to discuss the pros and cons of some players' decision to skip the camp.

"Whoever is attending the camp, it is my job to take care of them and it is the BAI's job to take care of those who are not there," he said quite frankly.

The BAI diktat that anyone skipping the camp would not be eligible for selection for the Indian team for any international event, still stands. "It was a decision conveyed by the BAI chief B.K. Varma to all the players during his last visit," reminded Gopi.

Collective decision

However, the National coach reiterated that the collective decision of the BAI to focus more on the camp than on participation in any tournaments till June 9 was primarily to enhance the endurance levels of the Indian shuttlers.

"It is not the question whether someone is talented or not. Endurance and physical fitness of the highest level are equally important to be successful in the international circuit," he said.

Gopi also said that Indian shuttlers would compete in a series of international events, starting with the Sudirman Cup, Thailand and the Philippines Opens, Chinese Masters and the World Championships, till November this year. "So, it is not as if we are against the players being given international exposure," he added.

Gopi signed off saying "with Indonesia's Hadi Idris doing an excellent job in the camp, I am optimistic of better results in the coming days".

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