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Indian shuttlers lack drive, says Vimal

Bangalore: Chief national coach U. Vimal Kumar blamed the country’s top shuttlers for not taking advantage of the international exposure and said most of them lacked “real drive”.

“Most of the players are not showing real drive or matching the performance they were putting up a year, or year-and-a-half ago,” Kumar said on Wednesday.

“It’s not due to lack of exposure. They have been getting continuous exposure... Of late, we have not been very happy with the performance of the players,” he said.

Defending the Badminton Association of India’s (BAI) decision to sponsor upcoming talent Anup Sridhar for the Singapore Open starting next week, Kumar said: “He is the most promising player among the young brigade.”

In the last six months, the 20-year-old has beaten top players like Nikhil Kanetkar, Sachin Ratti, Arvind Bhat and J. B. S. Vidhyadhar, he pointed out.

“The selection committee feels we need some back-up players and give exposure to promising ones,” Kumar said, noting that meets like Singapore Open were basically “exposure events”.

Sridhar, ranked 458th, is waitlisted in the Singapore Open starting Monday and is still waiting to know whether he will find a place even in the qualifiers.

He also supported the BAI decision of not sponsoring India’s top doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Shruti Kurien for the Singapore Open. He said: “They have been playing since 2000. If you really go into their fitness, they are not fit to play at this level of competition”. (PTI)

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