'Saina has a good chance in London'

Chief National coach Pullela Gopichand said ace shuttler Saina Nehwal will have a good chance of a podium finish at the London Olympics if she continues with the form that helped her to stay among the top-five in the world.

“Super Series has the best format which is similar to the Olympics with world class players in the fray. Saina has done well in top competitions this year to stay world number four. If she can continue with the same form, she has a chance of winning a medal in London. A medal looks very possible,” said Gopichand on the sidelines of the National badminton championships on Tuesday.

Saina had failed in four Super Series finals in 12 months, casting doubts over her mental strength but Gopichand backed his ward to break the final jinx. “It’s not about mental strength. She is mentally strong. She beat many top players last year and at the start of this year. She lost against the world number one and she lost after leading, so I think she is almost there. It’s only a matter of time before she starts winning again,” the 38-year-old pointed out.

The former All England badminton champion said the future of Indian badminton looks bright with several exciting young talents coming up with good performances

. “It is far better than what it was during my playing days. Sindhu PV looks the most promising player. She can replace Saina but she is just 16 and we have to wait. Among men, we have Sourabh (Verma), Sai Praneeth, Srikanth among others. But these players have not yet reached their potential. We have to give them two to three years,” said Gopichand, who won the National title five times in a row from 1996-2000.

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