Badminton Life

India Set Commonwealth Games Target

Having seen some encouraging results in the Olympic Games and other tournaments, India's sports chiefs are now preparing their badminton team for the 2010 Commonwealth Games on home soil.

The latest move has seen the Sports Ministry take on two foreign coaches and eight Indian coaches for their "Preparation of Indian Teams for Commonwealth Games, 2010" programme.

Atik Jauhari, of Indonesia, has been hired to take care of the singles players while Australian Jason Krufort has been appointed as the doubles coach.

National coach P. Gopichand will lead the local team, which also comprises Sanjiv Sachdeva, Surinder Mahajan, Vijaydeep Singh, Ajay Kanwar, Bhaskar Babu, Siddharth Jain and Manjusha Kanwar.

A group of 35 players have been identified for inclusion in the core group of athletes who will be given special training for the Games. Eventually, there will be 20 male and 20 female players who will be approved by the Ministry's steering committee overseeing the preparations.

The Ministry has asked the Badminton Association of India to provide more names so that all 40 places can be filled.

The association will also be responsible for suggesting the support staff such as psychologist, physiotherapist, massage team, analysts and other technical officials.

The players will be assigned to training centres at Lucknow, Bangalore and Gandhi Nagar to fine-tune their skills ahead of the Games.

Among the athletes who have been selected so far are Olympians Anup Sridhar and Saina Nehwal, who took part in the men's singles and women's singles at the Beijing Olympics respectively.

Saina has emerged as a real star for India. The 18-year-old last week won the Taiwan Open Grand Prix event, her second title on the international circuit.

She will be a major medal hope at the Commonwealth Games, where the favourites for success are likely to come from Malaysian and English badminton players.

Anup is the leading men's player in India and is waiting to make his breakthrough on the international circuit.

India has a strong tradition in global badminton, having produced All England men's singles champions in Prakash Padukone and Gopichand.

They are hoping that the Commonwealth Games can unearth more talented players to take on the world.

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