Former Indian badminton coach Vimal Kumar believes Saina Nehwal expects a “tough” trip, he will have to lead specific tournaments to extend his career after the COVID-19 Pandemic broke the Dreams of the Tokyo Olympics. Due to injuries and indifferent form, Saina, 31, was unable to make it to the fourth Olympics after the sport’s governing team, the BWF, canceled the last three qualifiers due to the pandemic. “He came to Limelight in 2005-06 and has been a great Trendsetter after Prakash Padukone. He’s been consistent, he’s been playing for many years and it’s sad that he can’t qualify this year. I think he’s been a bit unlucky. In the last two games,” Vimal told PTI .
Vimal, who led Saina to the top of the world rankings, said the bronze medal at the London Olympics could serve Indian badminton for several years if he plans things better and takes care of his body.
“It may take a few years, but it will be tough. He needs to plan things better, direct specific tournaments and work towards that.
“With his experience he can beat the best players, but he doesn’t have to look at the standings, as it will be difficult to play on the circuit and be without injury.”
The shuttle has won more than 24 international titles, including 11 Superseries in the Crown Stellar career, not only won silver and bronze at the World Championships and Bronze at the 2012 London Games.
Saina, who reached the quarterfinals at the Beijing Games, suffered a knee injury in his career a few days before the 2016 Rio Olympics when he bowed out in the second round.
The determined Saina, however, returned to her second Commonwealth Games gold in 2018 and moved to the Tokyo berth before slipping in the last two years.
Is it possible to continue with the other Olympics?
“It’s very difficult. It’s being injected consistently. I don’t know, it’s hard work, and to be honest, the Olympics shouldn’t be a priority,” Vimal said.
“His performance has been steadily declining since he won the Indonesian final after injuring Carolina Marin in January 2019. After that he has done nothing remarkable. Of course, COVID has been in most parts.”
Vimal believes his success will depend on his success in the sport for more than 15 years.
“There can’t be much change at this stage. He has to take care of his body. Sports are hard, it’s hard for the body to take on that intensity,” they said.
“He’s still better than the rest of the young players, but now he’s going to focus on the youngsters. He’s going to have to manage, he’s going to have to look at playing the circuit on his own, if he still has that will and his hunger.”
“Now (Parupalli) has Kashyap as coach. If he does all that, he can continue to play for at least a couple of years, and that will be good for other Indian players as well.”
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