Coach Handoyo’s single-minded aim

On Tuesday, as many as nine Indian men’s singles players failed to qualify for the main draw.

Published: 30th March 2017 04:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th March 2017 04:29 AM   |  A+A-

World No 31 Kidambi Srikanth (L) with India singles coach Mulyo Handoyo

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: On Tuesday, as many as nine Indian men’s singles players failed to qualify for the main draw. Mulyo Handoyo, India’s recently-recruited singles coach, sat in one corner of the Siri Fort Complex with a blank expression. Deep down, he must have been making mental notes of areas to work on with the fallen stars.

On Wednesday, sitting in the India camp and watching B Sai Praneeth win a close match against Japanese Kenta Nishimoto at the India Open Superseries, the reaction from the veteran coach was no different.
He might possess a top quality poker face but what impresses the Indonesian the most about his wards? “Players giving 100 per cent is what impresses me. I expect them to give their best. Our boys are good, so they should win,” the coach, who helped Taufik Hidayat clinch Olympic gold in 2004, told Express.

One of seven foreign coaches roped in by BAI, Handoyo does not want to tinker with the players’ natural game and wants to closely monitor the performances of some stars. “This is not the right time to implement my plans. I want to study each and every player’s game closely. Once that is done, we will move to the next level. Having said that, we do discuss the game with players but my proper methods will come after we are done with the initial process.”

Aware that Indians are injury prone, the Indonesian has a clear plan in mind. From diet to training methods, all could change under Handoyo, and for good. “While looking at the players and analysing their games, we will also look at their injury histories and then devise methods not to get injured. We would like to bring about some change as far as diet is concerned.”

One area that would be given special attention is mental strengthening. Having seen the players over the years, Handoyo thinks that if that aspect is improved, Indians would be a lot more consistent. “We need some aggression from the players. Also, we would work on mental strengthening. If that area is conquered we would get more international title wins.”

It remains to be seen if the coach, who has signed a three-year contract, reaches his targets in the given time. But for now, his presence will certainly bolster hopes and reduce the burden on chief national coach Pullela Gopichand.

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