New Delhi: A day after India women lost to Japan in the Uber Cup semi-finals, national coach Pullela Gopichand said the world would take note of his team’s fine performance in the prestigious meet.
He, however, admitted that there were “deficiencies and weaknesses in the team that need to be addressed”.
In the semi-finals against Japan, Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu won the first two singles, but India lost the next three matches, including two doubles, to surrender the tie. Before this, India had beaten mighty teams like Thailand and Japan to reach the last four.
“This is not the first time we have won a medal,” said Gopichand on the bronze medal showing. “We have done well in several tournaments, including the Commonwealth Games at the same venue. But the fact that we were able to beat teams like Thailand and Indonesia by 3-0 margins speaks of our strength. We need to do better.”
“These wins, I am sure, would add to the credibility of the team and the badminton world would take note of us. It would also add to the confidence of the players and help them in their careers.”
Asked how he was planning to add more depth to the squad that looked vulnerable in the third singles and second doubles, Gopichand said there were deficiencies and weaknesses that would take time to overcome.
“We have two of the world’s best players in the singles. We do need to improve in certain areas, but that’s not an easy job. If you look around the world, all countries are struggling to produce players. The money and effort you need for that is huge. We have been working to develop the next set of players and give them more exposure. We need a bigger pool of players.
“At the same time, we need to believe in what we have at the moment,” said the coach.
Asked whether Indian women had exceeded the expectations by reaching the semi-finals, Gopichand said the quarter-final was the first target before the start of the meet.
“I won’t say that reaching the semi-finals was beyond our expectations,” the coach said. “At the same time, there were several factors which really came as pleasant surprises. That Sindhu can perform like this day after day was a big thing.
“Against Thailand, Saina played so well to beat world champion Ratchanok (Intanon) and immediately after that Sindhu beat Prontip (Buranaprasertsuk) and Jwala (Gutta) and Ashwini (Ponnappa) playing so well… these were big achievements… it was a dream run by the Indian women,” said Gopichand.