Sindhu perfectly placed before All England, World C'ships, says Gopichand
Kolkata: His eyes set on ending the 18-year-old wait for an Indian to become an All England champion, national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand on Friday hinted that P V Sindhu is perfectly placed to achieve the rare feat after a stellar 2018 in which the star shuttler clinched the season-ending World Tour Finals title to end on a high.
Gopichand was the last Indian to win the All England Championship in 2001, achieving the coveted feat after 21 years of Prakash Padukone's 1980 title.
Asked about Sindhu's superb run last year and the targets this year, he said: "I think this year Sindhu has done well in all big tournaments. The World Tour Finals win has been even better. It's a great start to come in to this year."
Sindhu capped a successful season where she won silver medals at the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, World Championship and finished runners-up at the India Open and the Thailand Open.
The All England Open and the World Championships are slated to take place this year, and Gopichand said with the Olympic qualifying also there, the aim would be to ensure the biggest team goes to Tokyo.
"We have two major tournaments this year, the All England Championship and World Championships, also we have the Olympics Qualifying. The main target will be to ensure that we have high ranking and go to the Olympics with the biggest team," the 45-year-old said on the sidelines of a promotional event.
Last year wasn't a good one for Kidambi Srikanth and H S Prannoy as they returned trophy less. But Gopichand remained hopeful of their comeback this term blaming the hectic schedule for their below par shows.
"At the end of the year we have four athletes in top 20. I am happy with the men's singles (show). Of course 2017 has
been phenomenal. This was much tougher than 2017. We had two big tournaments — the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games — which also took away two months of preparation time."