The absence of defending champion Carolina Marin will be an advantage, but there are at least six more contenders for the Tokyo Games title and PV Sindhu must study his previous appearances to come up with the right strategy, says former India head coach Vimal Kumar.
Sindhu had to settle for silver five years ago at the Rio Games after coming down against Marin.
The three-time world champion from Spain withdrew from the games in Tokyo after suffering a knee injury.
“Marin was a strong contender for the gold and her absence will be felt. So many players will have an advantage not only Sindhu. Sindhu definitely has a chance for gold, but there are at least six other girls who can claim the title,” Vimal told PTI .
“Tai Tzu Ying, the two Japanese girls Akane Yamaguchi and Nozomi Okuhara are strong contenders. I’m not sure about the two Chinese girls, Chen Yufei and He Binghiao. I haven’t seen them play late, so I don’t know how they are prepared or how they will. Ratchanok Inthanon can also be complicated. “
“It will also come down to that particular day, which is in the right mental and physical condition during that day to get out. So it’s still very open, each of these six girls can be 1-2-3.” , he said .
Vimal said there was still a long way to go and Sindhu needed to work on strategies against potential adversaries.
“A lot can be done by discussing her potential rivals, looking at and analyzing the matches: in what situation they lost a match, the mistakes they made. This helps to develop tactics and also gives the players confidence. because there is one more month until the Olympics, “he advised.
The 58-year-old, who represented India at the 1992 Games, believes B Sai Praneeth has a good tactical game and could appear as a dark horse in the men’s singles at the Olympics, which begins on July 23.
World number 15 Praneeth had ended the 36-year wait by winning the bronze medal at the 2019 World Cup.
“As a teenager, I always felt that he would achieve more than anyone else. He was the first to do well in the World Cup after Prakash (Padukone), so there is no reason why he can’t do well at the Olympics.
“If he gets a good draw, he could be a dark horse,” said Vimal, who was India’s head coach from 2001 to 2006.
“I don’t know what physical condition he is in, but you never know. If you don’t face a big player at the beginning of the draw, the chances of getting far are higher in the Olympics than in the Super Series race.
“Again, it depends on the mental and physical strength to endure, wise in the game, wise in tactics, he’s good.”
Speaking about Sindhu’s chances at the Olympics, former Indian women’s coach Madhumita Bisht said: “We all expect gold from us. She was a dark horse in 2016. We never thought she would win silver. There was no pressure. But now she is a world champion and silver medalist, and there is a COVID-19 to deal with. “
“The pandemic has affected India more than any other country. Being an athlete entering the Olympics is stressful enough and now there will be that tension to be safe, but she is a hard worker and will do well.”
Sindhu did not perform well on the eve of the Olympic Games with only one final to show at the Swiss Open.
“I felt that her physical condition was not so good during the tournaments she played this year. She played really long matches even after she went to London and with that lock. Physically she was not at that level. But it will not be reflect her because previous performances don’t matter, she’s a strong girl, “Bisht said.