Junior coach Mishra stays pragmatic

Junior coach Mishra stays pragmatic

Sanjay Mishra

Performance and not medal is the priority, believes junior national coach Sanjay Mishra as the Indian team began its preparations for the BWF World Junior Championship which kickstarts at Kazan, Russia from September 30 to October 13.

The team tournament will be held over the first six days with the individual events slated to take over the second half of the tournament.

In the last installment of the meet, India had reached the quarterfinals of the team event and Lakshya Sen brought home a bronze in the boys’ singles.

With the Indian team hard at work at the camp - being held at the Karnataka Badminton Association - Mishra said that a repeat of last year’s performance would be a good result.

“The full team is young, 70-80% are under 17 (years). World Championships is a big tournament and big pressure. Last time in the team championship we had played quarterfinals, this time if we reach there it will be a big achievement,” said Mishra on the sidelines of the camp on Tuesday.

When asked about the medal prospect, Mishra remarked: “We can’t say because it all depends a lot on the draws also. They are good players and can beat anyone on their day but exposure and experience are less so we are not putting any pressure,” he added.

However, Maisnam Meiraba and Sathish Kumar K are India’s best hopes in the boys’ singles while rising star 15-year-old Tasnim Mir, domestically ranked three in the U-19s, is a best bet in girls’ singles. Manjit Singh Khwairakpam and Dingku Singh Konthouiam remain the best boys’ doubles pair with Aditi Bhatt, Tanisha Crasto, Ishaan Bhatnagar all adding to the doubles arsenal.

With such a young side, Mishra also opened up on the long game.

“Juniors like Malavika Bansod in the seniors after December. So even if she plays in the World Championships, there won’t be any benefit next year. So she’s playing in Maldives, Nepal and Bahrain because she has to get senior ranking points now. Similarly with Aakarshi Kashyap,” he explained.

“These kids are 15-16 and getting this kind of exposure. So in a year or two, they can give better performances.”

The experienced coach also remarked that one of the big focuses while training was on the mental side. Especially with technology allowing players to check their opponent’s history.

“(One time) Malvika was playing against a girl from Vietnam (Thi Anh Thu Vu). She won the first round, came at changeover and said ‘I don’t know how she lost the first game? I t was easy for me. This girl beat her (PC Thulasi) last month’. Because this was in her mind, she lost a second game and in the third, she won after a fight. So only when they play tournaments, they can get that temperament, we have to continuously motivate them. If someone defeats them then you see mistakes in their game. So why don’t you be the one to do beat them?,” he signed off.

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