India’s chief coach Gopichand unhappy with the changes made to badminton calendar in 2018

The top 15 players in singles and top 10 in doubles will have to compulsorily play 12 events in a year.

Chief National coach Pullela Gopichand on Wednesday slammed the new BWF World Tour calendar saying the increased number of mandatory tournaments for top players will create a lot of problems for India next year.

According to the new competition rules issued by the Badminton World Federation for the upcoming season, the top 15 players in singles and top 10 in doubles will have to compulsorily play 12 events in a year.

“Add to this, India will be playing the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. This means our top players will have very little time to prepare and rest. And that is not the right way forward. There are many more ways to promote the sports rather than pushing the top players to play more,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Mumbai.

BWF would be launching the new tournament structure starting from January 2018 and opinion is divided on whether the increased number of tournaments was the right way forward. The other major decision that has attracted maximum criticism is that there would be no qualifying rounds in Grade 1 and Grade 2 events.

Gopichand admitted that it was an area of concern given the fact that players have come from qualifying rounds to win major events but would wait for sometime to pass a judgement. “I think we should wait for a year to see how things pan out. There will be issues with injuries etc to top players and other players may get a chance,” he added.

Speaking from India’s perspective, Gopichand said the players can’t afford to skip the tour events since the ranking points have to be defended to be eligible for bigger events and it would be a tough task to maintain the balance between training and tournaments.

He was, however, excited with the prospect of the challenge Indian shuttlers will face in 2018 and is hopeful that they would continue to win more titles.

The 43-year-old, who was in Mumbai to launch the innovative YoungChamps program in association with IDBI Federal Life Insurance, said the real challenge for India was to create a bigger pool of coaches by getting the top players back to coaching.

“We need to work on the whole ecosystem. Coaches need to get more respect and monetary benefits,” he added.

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