Sunday, June 23, 2024
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‘Saina’s dipping form a concern’

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NEW DELHI: Saina Nehwal has set such high standards that even a minor dip in form raises concerns, according to badminton legend Prakash Padukone, who believes the Indian shuttler will soon be back to her winning ways.

The first Indian to win the prestigious All England title in 1980, Padukone said Saina needs to find out where she is going wrong and peak at the right time to realise her dream of winning an Olympic medal next year.

“She needs to see where she is going wrong because the competition is so tough at the top and the other thing is that she has set such high standards for herself that even if she reaches semifinals it looks as if she has not done well,” Padukone said.

“Compared to last year, Saina has not performed consistently, so it is a bit of a concern but hopefully she will sort it out with her coach and remain focussed.

“The main thing is to peak at the right time and she has to go through in detail why she has not been performing, what she did last year differently,” he added.

Saina had won three Super Series titles – Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong – besides winning the Commonwealth Games and India Open Grand Prix gold last year but this year, even though she won the Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold and finished runner-up at Malaysia and Indonesia, the Indian ace is yet to win a Super Series title.

The 56-year-old Padukone was also concerned about the Indian men shuttlers who are not doing well enough.

“It is concerning. It is one thing to have one in the top 10 and another to have five in the top 50. Ideally 2-3 players should be in the top 10 because it is easier to reach 20 or 50 by choosing the right tournament and performing reasonably well in some tournament,” he said.

“But to break into top 10 after reaching 20 or 50 is not that easy, you have to be consistent. So it is definitely a bit of concern,” said Padukone, who was awarded the Padma Shri in 1982.

Padukone, who won a bronze in the World Championship in 1983, said the Indian men shuttlers should show more commitment and emulate Saina.

“When I look back, I think they are getting opportunities so they can’t blame it on opportunities, like it used to be in the past,” said Padukone, who won the gold medal at the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Canada.

“I personally feel they need to work a little harder and put in more effort.” (PTI)

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