Kolkata, June 2: The Commonwealth Games is set to take centrestage and ahead of the prestigious event, India's chief national coach Pullela Gopichand opened up about the country's preparations.
Following an epic performance in the Thomas Cup in May, Gopichand is hopeful that the male shuttlers will be able to reclaim the top prize in the men's singles event and better their record in the doubles.
In the 2018 edition of the Commonwealth Games, India had clinched an unprecedented six medals, which included two gold medals, three silvers and a bronze.
Gopichand feels India can go the distance and better their show in the Birmingham Games. "As a team, for the world, this performance (Thomas Cup) means a lot. We haven't performed this way at the team level, in the men's section especially," PTI quoted the 48-year-old.
"It's a huge thing, in general the team is excited and very hopeful after the way we performed in the Thomas Cup. I'm hopeful that we would do better than last time. Last year we won two gold medals, can we do better than that? But looking at the Thomas Cup, I'm sure we will have a chance to better our records in the men's singles and doubles."
Prakash Padukone (1978) and Syed Modi (1982) and Parupalli Kashyap are the only Indian men to win the coveted gold at CWG, while Chirag and Satwik had created history by becoming the first-ever Indian pair to win a CWG medal en route to bagging a silver in 2018.
The Birmingham edition of the Commonwealth Games is set to get underway from July 28 to August 8.
Two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu endured her sixth straight defeat to Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu Ying at the Malaysia Open on Friday, making it an overall 16 losses and five wins. Gopichand said he will discuss with her coach Park Tae Sang to sort out the problems.
"We will work on this definitely, she's a very good player, and Tai Tzu is equally good. We will plan accordingly so that she's able to reverse the losses in the near future," he said. "We will be talking to coach Park and find out what the problems are. she is a strong player over the years, she's experienced. I'm sure she will come back strongly in a few weeks."
Meanwhile, not only a coach, Gopichand will also have nerves of a father at the Commonwealth Games. Gopichand's daughter Gayatri is set to make her CWG debut in women's doubles, pairing with Teesa Jolly in Birmingham.
When asked whether he's nervous as a 'doting' dad, Gopichand gave a deadpan response. "Every player has a growth cycle, every player has their learning curve, someone is slow learner and someone learns quickly. I hope the youngsters learn quickly and deliver for the country soon."
The former All-England champion was here to inaugurate the Star Badminton Academy at Harinavi in the southern outskirts which was approved by the Government of West Bengal.
"The BAI have planned to widen the net of academies so that there will be more and more coaches across the country. It's part of the BAI's planning to hire more coaches so that they can train players in different states," he signed off.
(With inputs from PTI)