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Doubles Coach Kim Tan Her Focussed on Bringing Out the Best From the Players Despite Challenges

If not for the efforts of coach Kim, doubles would still have been struggling in the country. Not that India is a force to reckon with in this category yet, but it is surely a work in progress. The thorough taskmaster that Kim is, he made his intentions clear right at his arrival, and chalked out a play with chief coach Pullela Gopichand, to help Indian badminton. And now the results are for everyone to see.

Madhav Agarwal | News18 Sports

Updated:May 7, 2018, 10:10 AM IST
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Doubles Coach Kim Tan Her Focussed on Bringing Out the Best From the Players Despite Challenges
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New Delhi: Post the success story of badminton at the Commonwealth Games 2018, this might be the first time, as far as one can remember, that badminton doubles is given as much importance as the singles. India won a rich haul of medals at the Games, of which doubles accounted for two.

While the winners, Satwik Sairaj, Chirag Shetty, Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy deserve all the accolades, reserve some for the doubles coach Kim Tan Her too. Appointed by the Badminton Association of India close to two years ago, doubles in India has undergone a welcome, gradual change.

If not for the efforts of coach Kim, doubles would still have been struggling in the country. Not that India is a force to reckon with in this category yet, but it is surely a work in progress. The thorough taskmaster that Kim is, he made his intentions clear right at his arrival, and chalked out a play with chief coach Pullela Gopichand, to help Indian badminton. And now the results are for everyone to see.

So it becomes imperative to know about the journey of the man who shook the still waters of doubles badminton India. In an exclusive chat with News18 Sports, Kim told that all the good things now are a result of the hard work of last two years, and the challenges he faced in bringing those changes.

“When I first came here, I saw that there was no system in doubles in India. Players used to select and choose their own partners. It was then I spoke to head coach Pullela Gopichand, with regards to getting some changes. From there on, I selected the players. Of course India has a lot of talented players, but to be frank they didn’t know how to play quality doubles. They lacked planning, team work, and all the things necessary to win doubles.

“If you see there were quite a few junior players who won laurels in the doubles, but their success was restricted to that level only. So I think the biggest task for me was to find suitable pairings for doubles players. You just look at Satwik Sairaj and Chirag Shetty. They both had different partners at junior level. While Satwik was with Krishna Prasad, Chirag was with MR Arjun. Initially there was a lot of resistance to play together by both of them, but then they had to give in to the pressure. With my experience I knew that these two would work well together. My instruction to them was to follow whatever I say for a few months, and the results will show,” Kim said.

The way Kim talks about these two blokes—Satwik and Chirag, it is evident that he rates them highly, but has a word of caution for the duo, who won a silver at the CWG in men’s doubles. For him, there is only one way to grow as players for them, keep changing their game.

“They have come up very fast. What I want from them is to maintain their game and rankings. Now other countries and players have started analyzing their game. When they first burst on the scene not many people knew about them. What I feel is that they’re still young, and can’t fully handle the pressure. It’s normal. But then, now is the time when I want to change their game. So that’s the only way they can improve,” Kim added.

The coach’s success mantras are not restricted to just these two players, but the others as well. Be it the team of Praanav Jerry Chopra and Sikki, or Ashwini and Sikki, all have found some kind of success under the coach.

“There was a time last year when our players were making it to the quarters and not winning medals. I asked them to be patient and take things step-by-step. You can’t win all the time. I gave them minimum targets, which was a must for them to achieve. Till last year it was quarters, now we are raising the bar to semis. It is only when they maintain this consistency, they can bag medals by next year. And let me assure you, we won’t just take part in the next Olympics, but we will play to win.”

With one eye on the current stars of doubles, Kim keeps the other eye on the upcoming junior players as well. After all that is where the country is going to get the next generation of stars. For his help he has a capable Arun Vishnu for his help, who is responsible for the growth of juniors.

“The key is to prepare the juniors right now. We have some talented players like Dhruv Kapila and Krishna Pasa. These two boys are hardworking, and I see a lot of talent there. I hope they can successfully make a transition to the senior category. Now we have Arun Vishnu looking after the junior doubles teams, and that is really good for these players. We keep in touch to discuss, how to go about our job with the youngsters,” he concluded.

| Edited by: Madhav Agarwal
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