New Delhi, April 16 After India’s disappointing performance in the men’s singles at the Badminton Asia Championships, the country’s foreign coach Atik Jauhari has listed reasons ranging from injuries, independent training programmes of players, temperament, and the ‘lack of x-factor’ for the poor showing.
The Indonesian master coach was at a loss for words to explain why experienced players like Anup Sridhar and Arvind Bhat lost on the first day of the championships except saying there is little he could say as the two follow their own training programme and do not discuss problems with him.
The two seniormost players were out on the opening day itself and Parupalli Kashyap was the lone survivor who lived to fight another day. Kashyap, ranked World No. 30 and seeded 13 here, pulled off two fine victories before losing to seventh seeded Yun Hu in the pre-quarterfinals.
Sridhar and Bhat are also injury-prone. Bhat, ranked 36, missed the All-England Open Championships and the Swiss Open because of an ankle injury. Bhat did not appear fully fit in his second-round loss to Korean Ji Hoon Hong Wednesday.
Sridhar’s best performance came in 2007 when he reached the quarterfinals of the World Championships, but since then injuries took a toll and his form dipped. He is now floating among the top 50.
‘Players do get injured and then recover, it’s a worldwide phenomenon. But a player has to be careful with the training he does during a recovery period. He has to chart out the right path to recovery,’ Jauhari told IANS.
About Sridhar and Bhat losing close matches, Jauhari, who coached legendary Indonesian Lim Swie King, said: ‘I can’t comment because I know little about their training. They follow their own schedule in Bangalore and do not discuss anything with me.’
‘Even Lim Swie King used to come to me and discuss where he is lacking, the training method he should follow after an injury and how to improve his fitness.’
Sridhar and Bhat train at the Tata Padukone Badminton Academy in Bangalore under Prakash Padukone.
Jauhari, who has produced many champions besides King during his 27-year stint as Indonesia’s chief coach, said the Indian players will have to be tougher mentally and should not put too much pressure on themselves.
‘The formula for winning is confidence, bravery and enjoying the game. If a player has all the three attributes then nobody can stop him,’ the Indonesian said.
‘They are losing close matches, probably they are putting more pressure on themselves. They need to be confident about their abilities and play freely. They lack that x-factor needed to win matches.’
Jauhari was full of praise for Indian sensation Saina Nehwal, but said she still has some way to go to become World No.1.
‘Saina is very serious about her game. She needs to enjoy her game. She is very hard working and she has the fighting spirit. She is fearless and ready to take on any opponent. She should take one step at a time and her immediate aim should be to get into the top three.’
The 61-year-old, however, does not want to continue in India beyond his tenure that ends with the Asian Games in December.
‘I don’t think I would extend my contract because I want to go back home. I have had enough of coaching.’