Jwala, Ashwini can do wonders: Syed Arif (Interview) (With Image)

July 8th, 2012 - 2:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, July 8 (IANS) Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa have the ability to topple the top shuttlers in the world, feels their coach Syed Mohammed Arif.

The former national chief coach, who is training the Olympics bound women’s doubles pair, firmly believes they can do wonders.

Arif Sahab, as he is popularly known, is working on some weak areas of the pair. He has also sought the services of a psychologist for their mental preparation.

“Mental preparation more than anything else becomes very important. Concentration, how much fight you want to give, how your mind is accepting the challenge and how much stress you can take is all crucial,” Arif, 68, told IANS.

“All over the world sports psychologists are working with sportspersons for decades.”

Unlike Saina Nehwal, Kashyap and Diju, who practice only at the Gopichand academy, Jwala and Ashwini train at both the academy under the Indonesian coach Edwin Iriawan and at the L.B. Indoor Stadium under Arif.

The veteran coach with five decades of experience is pleased that Jwala has become the first Indian shuttler to be picked up for two events in Olympics.

This is also the first time that as many as five badminton players will be representing India.

Arif believes the progress of mixed double pair of Jwala and V. Diju would depend more on the draw.

He feels that the Indian players, like the other teams, should reach the venue two weeks before the Olympics to acclimatize.

“They should practice in that particular environment and get used to the conditions. These days blowers are being used for ACs and because of that there will be drift in the shuttle’s flight.

“Many times they were unlucky in the tournaments. They are pitched against number one or number two in the initial rounds and are getting knocked out.

“Otherwise they have got the capacity to beat anybody once they are getting used to flight of the shuttle and the environment of the hall,” he said.

Arif expects India’s top player Saina Nehwal to bring laurels to India.

“The way she is playing she should be getting a medal for the country. What medal depends on the particular day, how she is moving and how she is playing,” said the Padmasri and Dronacharya awardee.

He feels Saina should be mentally high because she has defeated all the top players playing at the Olympics except Wang Yihan, the top-ranking Chinese.

Saina played one match against Wang Yihan and even this was a close game lasting for one hour eight minutes.

He believes the going would be very tough for P. Kashyap in men’s singles.

“I would say if he is getting a medal it will be bonus because in men’s section there is very tough competition. He has to play an extraordinary game and also need luck to get a medal.”

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