Chief national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand said that the Olympics is going to be different and stressful this time because of COVID restrictions and protocols. He, however, expects Indian athletes to claim an unparalleled double-digit medal haul at the Olympics and believes PV Sindhu could return with a gold.
India is fielding more than 120 athletes, its biggest-ever Olympic contingent, at the Tokyo Olympics which begins on Friday.
“I do believe that whether it is shooting, wrestling, boxing or Mirabai Chanu in weightlifting, I think they have a lot of chances,” he said at a webinar.
Gopichand, who had guided Saina Nehwal and Sindhu to a bronze and silver respectively in the past two Olympics, believes Indian badminton players have a good opportunity to better their performance.
“In badminton, we have chances, definitely to better what we did in Rio and London. So I am hoping that Sindhu can pull off, she is definitely going to be one of the favourites in the Olympics with the venue as well. And also Chirag and Satwik, although, have a tough draw but I do see them as potential hopefuls for a medal. For Sai Praneeth, it is going to be tough. But he has done well at the World Championships and I hope he can repeat that performance,” said Gopichand.
Gopichand said that with the daily testing and other COVID-19 norms, the Olympics will be tough for athletes. “Normally it is a very vibrant environment but this time around it will be almost like do-your-work-and-move kind of a place because after you lose, you have to leave the country within 48 hours, that’s the kind of norms they have. So this is going to be stressful,” he said.
With Agency inputs