With the 2024 Paris Olympics in sight, Pullela Gopichand has asked the Indian shuttlers to focus on the process rather than obsessing over the Olympics qualification.
Paris berths will be sealed on April 28 when the Olympic qualification rankings are out with singles players inside the top 16 securing the berth.
“I think the Olympics is still a long way. There are still about eight tournaments to play. I don’t think it’s right to go after that as a player. I think it’s too much pressure unnecessarily to start thinking about the race to Paris as a primary role.,” Gopichand told reporters at the India Open 2024.
“I think it’s important to stick to the process, I think the points, the rankings, and the qualification will take care of itself. That’s how I would want the players to look at it. Because everybody is asking the same question. Everyone’s saying the big one is Paris. I think if you do the right things every day, Paris will come and we won’t have a problem,” he added further.
Among Indian shuttlers, HS Prannoy, the men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty are almost qualified for the event while PV Sindhu will have to make a strong comeback from injury to consolidate her position in the top 16 of women’s singles.
The women’s doubles pairs — Treesa Jolly/Gayatri Gopichand, and Ashwini Ponnappa/Tanisha Crasto — are also fighting to be inside the top 16 by April.
“As a coach, it’s important that you keep pushing the players, and you expect more from the players. We’ve had a great year, we had some very good wins in events that matter whether it’s World Championships, whether it’s the Asian Games, I think we did well there.,” Gopichand concluded.
India has won three medals in the Olympics to date and all of them have come in the women’s singles with Saina Nehwal winning a bronze in the 2012 London Olympics and PV Sindhu winning a silver and a bronze at the 2016 Rio and 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
With the duo of Satwik and Chirag in red-hot form, Indian fans will be expecting a medal in the men’s category this time.