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Asian Games will be tougher than Commonwealth Games: Popat

Aparna Popat.

Aparna Popat.   | Photo Credit: V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

‘If they strike form, Indian shuttlers will definitely come back with medals’

Former badminton player Aparna Popat on Tuesday said the upcoming Asian Games will be tougher than the Commonwealth Games and it was important the players struck form ahead of the continental multi-sport event.

The nine-time badminton national champion said Indian shuttlers are capable of beating any of the current top players and if they strike form, they will definitely come back with medals from the Asian Games.

The 18th edition of the Asian Games will be held in Indonesia from August 18 to September 2.

“See it’s tough, we know that the Asian Games are going to be definitely tougher than the Commonwealth Games.

“But we also know that a lot of it is dictated by the form of players themselves,” the 40-year-old told reporters here.

She was speaking on the sidelines of a panel discussion organised by the Rotary Club of Bombay.

“They (Indian shuttlers) are capable of beating any of the top players today, if they strike form, then they will definitely come back with medals,” added Popat.

Popat believes that every round will be “challenging” for the Indian players in the Asian Games.

Asked why she thought the Asian Games are more difficult than the Commonwealth Games (CWG), she said “Because badminton is dominated mostly by Asians.

“You look at the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Thais, Chinese Taipei today — that’s why (in the) Asian Games, every round is going to be challenging (for the Indian players).”

The Commonwealth Games are held for the countries that were once under the British rule and only a handful of Asian nations take part in this international multi-sport event.

“They are experienced enough, they are champions enough to know what is required to be done at such a big event, they just have to stick to it,” Popat said when asked what advice she would give Saina and Sindhu before the Asiad.

The former badminton player signed off by saying that young shuttler Lasksya Sen’s real test will begin now.

Sen (16) recently won the gold medal at the Asia junior badminton championships in men’s singles, defeating top seed Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand 21-19, 21-18 in the final.

“I faced a similar kind of hurdle — after winning my silver medal at the World Junior Championships, the transition to seniors is very different.

“He is mentored by Prakash uncle (Prakash Padukone), Vimal uncle (Vimal Kumar) and trained with them.

“So he is in the best hands, (and should) take cognisance of the fact that the real test starts now. Much larger world is out there when it comes to seniors,” she said.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 1:34:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/asian-games-will-be-tougher-than-commonwealth-games-popat/article24504989.ece

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