New Delhi, Aug 18 (IANS) If India is concerned about poor standard of its doubles badminton combinations at international level, it should seriously consider getting an overseas coach for them, says Olympic silver medallist Carsten Mogensen of Denmark who feels the ongoing Indian Badminton League (IBL) will be good for spreading the popularity of the game in the country.
The world is looking at the rise in the quality of India's singles shuttlers with eight men in the top-50 of the world rankings and Saina Nehwal and P.V. Sindhu creating waves by barging into the top in the women's section. The worry is that no Indians figure in the top-25 of the men's, women's or mixed doubles rankings.
"India have to get foreign coaches, preferably former doubles exponents either from Denmark, Malaysia or Indonesia, the countries that produce good doubles teams. Otherwise, I think, it will be very difficult to produce top doubles players here," Mogensen, the men's doubles silver medallist at the 2012 London Olympics, told IANS in an interview.
India's last notable achievement in doubles was at the 2011 World Championships in London when Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa won the women's doubles bronze. Since then there has been a lull with no one making a mark in international doubles.
"The problem is that India has only singles players like Pullela Gopichand as coaches. It is a lot easier to learn when you have a coach who is a former doubles player and also a champion. Back in Denmark, we have a tradition and culture for badminton in schools and colleges. For 50 years we have had top players in all five categories and a lot of old players have become coaches," added Mogensen, who with compatriot Mathias Boe is ranked No.3 in the world.
Mogensen was again beaten in the the World Championship final last week in Guangzhou, China. The former World No.1 said that though losing both the finals hurts, he is still proud of getting silver at the two top events.
"Losing both the finals definitely hurts, but we try to do our best and aim for the gold in every tournament. It was very disappointing to lose the finals, but I think we can be more than proud of both the silver medals we won and are still hungry for more. Hopefully, we can change this silver into a gold next year on home soil," said Mogensen, who is here playing for the Banga Beats in the Indian Badminton League (IBL).
Mogensen and Boe won Denmark's first Olympic medal in men's doubles and are now aiming for gold at the 2014 World Championships which will be held in the Danish capital Copenhagen for a record fourth time.
About the Indian Badminton League (IBL), the 30-year-old said: "I think the Indian people will like badminton more than they did before because of the IBL. I hope it will a huge success. I am quite proud to be a part of the Banga Beats."
Mogensen faces the likely prospect of taking on regular doubles partner Boe, who is playing for Awadhe Warriors, in the IBL. However, the Dane is taking the match-up lightly.
"It is funny (smiles). We were hoping that we would play together here, but it did not work out. It does not really matter because in the Danish league too we have played against each other. It will be interesting; let us see who wins," he said.
(Sandip Sikdar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)