London Olympics silver-medallist Mathias Boe of Denmark feels India’s Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu can clinch medals at the Rio Olympics this year as China’s dominance in world badminton, especially in women’s singles, seems to be ending.
Boe, who alongwith his men’s doubles partner Carsten Mogensen, won a silver and a bronze at the World Championship in Guangzhou and Copenhagen respectively, feels China’s women’s singles players seem a little old but said ruling them out will be a mistake.
“If you look at the last few tournaments they are not as good as they used to be but may be they tried something different, I don’t know. We will know that better after the Olympics. If they can get all five gold medals we can’t say so. But it seems they are not as dominant now,” Boe, who is in India to play for Mumbai Rockets at the Premier Badminton League (PBL), told PTI.
“Like in Ladies single, they always had the best in the top 4 in the world but now they have just one. In men’s singles they have Chen Long, he is the best, they have the best mixed and ladies doubles. However, I would say they have struggled a bit especially in ladies singles where they have always dominated. They seem a little old but let’s not rule them out because that would be a mistake,” he added.
Talking about India’s chances at the Olympics, Boe said: “I think Saina and Sindhu will have a chance. They are among the top-10 players of the world. Saina is in top-four, and both these girls have been at the highest level. So they can do that in Olympics. If they can handle pressure then definitely I don’t see why they can’t get a gold medal for India.”
The celebrated Danish player has already won the All England twice and said he aims to have another shot at glory at the prestigious event in Birmingham in March.
“We have few big tournaments which is always fun to win. All England is one of the most prestigious tournaments apart from World Championship and Olympics. We have been fortunate to win it twice and to win it three times will be great as there are not many player to do so,” said Boe, who won the silver medal at the 2006 European Championships with Mogensen.
“Also there is Malaysia Open which we have never won, and India Open which we have won once but everytime we go on court we want to win. So that is what we are aiming for,” added the left-handed shuttler, who helped Mumbai Rockets reach the finals by beating Awadhe Warriors 3-0 in the semifinals last night.
One half of the World No. 4 pair, Boe said they are
looking forward to the opportunity of becoming the only doubles pair to win two Olympics medals at Rio Games.
“We know we can win Olympics. It is bigger than other events. Whoever can handle pressure best and if we can play our best it will be good enough. I am looking forward to the next few tournaments and qualify for Rio and have another shot at glory,” he said.
“Olympics come every four year. It is the biggest goal, biggest dream for any badminton player and we are no exception. We already have a silver at Olympics and if we can win another medal then we will be the only pair to have two medal and that will be remarkable,” he added.
Asked about his opinion on why India have not been able to produce quality doubles players, Boe said, “I think a lot of glory and what they have achieved is due to (Pullela) Gopichand’s work. He used to be a singles players and his expertise lies in singles.
“So when he started coaching he preferred to coach singles players and it is a normal development. He had to start somewhere and India have done well in singles and now you have some young doubles players doing well in u-19.
“It will come with time. You already have Manu and Sumeeth who won in Mexico, so India is on the right track. It takes years to develop quality doubles player,” he added.
Talking about his stint at the Premier Badminton League, Boe said: “It is more structure this year. Not as much as in Europe but overall another good experience. Last few days have been hectic with three days of illness and a lot of travelling. We just have to get things together and get ready for tomorrow.”
Boe hoped PBL will inspire youngster to take up the game. “People who are watching us at court or TV, hopefully, it will inspire youngsters to take up the game. I hope with time it will generate good players. Lot of academies is building up. There are many opportunity for young shuttlers in India.