Mumbai, November 4: Two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan feels that Indian badminton has progressed remarkably in the recent years but the Chinese will be back to dominate the shuttle sport in the coming years.
"In India, you see that players like Saina (Nehwal) and (K) Srikanth have progressed very well. The youngsters are doing very well too," said Dan, a two-time Olympic Champion. "Currently in China, young people are getting more involved in the sport. There are many groups coming up in high schools, where they focus on badminton. Sooner or later (we will back to be where we were)."
However, Dan feels there's not much variety in men's singles right now even though youngsters from other countries are dominating the scene. Srikanth is the latest to join the elite when he won four Super Series titles this year - a feat only achieved by Dan himself along with Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long. "Earlier, there was more variety, but the variety is growing," Dan remarked.
Danish legend Peter Gade concurred with Dan when he pointed out that Indian badminton has evolved over the years. "First of all, we see big evolution in popularity of badminton in India because of good performances in the last few years," Gade, who is visiting the country as part of the Legend's Vision Tour, said. "Saina, (PV) Sindhu and (Kidambi) Srikanth (are the examples). It is very important for the sport to have celebrities, people who are performing on a high level and at the same time, the other people know about it.
"That is what you are seeing now in India. In India, people also know a lot of about the guys sitting here (the legends). So that is a very good combination. We have seen a big evolution of Indian badminton players and we need the broader public to know about these players, not only as players but as stars," added the 40-year-old.
Reached my career best world no.2 after the ranking got updated yesterday. Will definitely try my best to reach no.1. pic.twitter.com/lFVjoAvM0W— Kidambi Srikanth (@srikidambi) November 4, 2017
Gade also suggested that one of Sindhu or Srikanth at least may go on to win the All England title in their respective categories. "You had Sindhu winning a silver at the Olympics, Srikanth winning the Super Series, so it can happen very soon. It is really important for the game of badminton that India produce players at this level and the big results will come." he said.
According to Gade, Asia still remains the power-centre in badminton world. "For me, I still see Asia as the power-centre," he said. "Now may be we have more different countries taking part from Europe like Carolina Marin from Spian. I have been working with the French team, trying to produce players. A few things are also happening there but I still see Asia as the power centre. Denmark is also producing players at the highest-level and it is good for the game if a few other European countries follow suit," he added.
Recently, Srikanth had said that the days of Chinese domination are over, but Gade says the coming period is an exciting one for international badminton. "In the men's singles, you have Lin DanLee Chong Wei, Chen Long, (the veterans)," he said. "Then you have some younger players coming forward and starting to make their impact like Srikanth. It's a very exciting period for men's singles and hopefully, we will see some great matches and fights."
Gade also said the challenge for his compatriot Viktor Axelsen will be to remain stable and perform well at every single tournament. "His challenge for the coming years will be to remain stable, perform at every single tournament at the highest level," Gade said. "It's a challenge for him to take care of his body and his preparations in the right way. He still needs to develop his game to be at the top in men's singles," he added.