A historic gold medal in team event was the highlight of India's outstanding show at the 2018 Commonwealth Games (CWG), feels badminton chief coach Pullela Gopichand. The legend, however, was critical of scheduling, which he feels prevented them from winning more medals.
Indian shuttlers produced their best ever show at the Commonwealth Games as besides the historic team gold, India also won a gold and silver in women's singles, a silver each in men's singles and men's doubles and a bronze in women's doubles.
"Overall if you look at the performance, I am pretty happy with how things have gone here. The team gold was the highlight. To beat Malaysia in a mixed team event was the highlight, I think it is fantastic," Gopichand said after Indian wrapped up their campaign.
"I think for me, this tournament belongs to Ashwini. Satwik and Ashwini could have ended up with a medal. The win in the team championship was very critical to put the team 1-0 up and give the confidence to Srikanth to beat Lee Chong Wei, I think that was a big win. Lot of credit to them for pulling it off against Malaysia. Overall, very good performance from the doubles players. They had a tough time, long matches, two events but they have come out very well. Individual medals is also a reason to be happy."
Indian shuttlers, especially the doubles pairs, had to play more than one match in a single day due to the scheduling and Gopichand disapproved of it.
"The only thing I would say if we would have been lucky, if the scheduling been little favourable we probably could have won couple of medals more. (HS) Prannoy lost two close matches - one to Lee Chong Wei and one to Rajiv (Ouseph) and he could have pulled off one of them. The mixed doubles was a close tie for Satwik and Ashwini, which we could have got another medal. The Saina-Sindhu final was fantastic. Srikanth's silver medal and also Satwik-Chirag and Sikki and Ashwini's medal was fantastic. It was an all round performance," added the 44-year-old.
Gopichand was also impressed with the performance of Saina Nehwal, who beat PV Sindhu in an all-Indian final to claim her second CWG gold in Gold Coast.
"Saina has been good, I think she is moving better and looking sharper on court and the will to win has always been there. She has shown good improvement and good performance here," Gopichand said. "She pulled off all the matches in the team and she came out there very strongly in the individual events and that is good to see."
The 2001 All England Champion was lavished praise on Satwik Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, who earned India's first men's doubles medal at the Commonwealth Games after winning the silver. "Satwik and Chirag are very young, their game is fantastic. Of course a lot of areas to work but when you look at the base quality, power and speed, we are actually looking at a pair who can do very well for us in future," he said