CHENNAI: As part of the coaching staff from 2011 to 2014, Edwin Iriawan has worked with some of India’s A-list shuttlers, witnessing many ground-breaking results in the process. Along with chief coach Pullela Gopichand, Iriawan had designed vital training programmes for Saina Nehwal, something that had propelled her to another level.
At present, Iriawan is closely looking to wring every drop of talent from two potential stars — Tasnim Mir and Ashmita Chaliha — with high hopes that they can go on to emulate Saina’s Olympic success. With tall aspirations, the duo from Assam Badminton Academy is currently taking part in the BAI series meet in Chennai, looking to get vital exposure that could help them on the road ahead. Living up to their talents so far, both won their respective ties to book quarterfinal berths.
“We have targets for this tournament and we prepared a lot. Now, the shuttlers are looking to give their 100 per cent. I hope they continue to rise. Overall, I’m satisfied with their progress till this day,” Iriawan says. Guwahati girl Ashmita, 22, first caught the attention of many after winning the Dubai International Challenge in 2018. However, the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic had stalled the southpaw’s growth. She had also unfortunately gotten infected by the virus during the time.
“After Covid, her performance went down. During the Uber Cup selections too, she couldn’t do well. But after that, we had a talk and now we’re preparing well. We are hopeful that she can do well in 2022 and climb up the ranking ladder,” he notes.
For 16-year-young Tasnim, this is her introduction to the senior level. Having recently played for India in the Uber Cup, she is intent on building on that experience. “I can see that her level is high and she can compete with the senior players. It’s not easy for Tasnim. I tell her ‘if you want to become a top player, you must work hard.’ And it’s the same for the rest of the team. We must have short-term targets and long-term targets and stick together. Hopefully, we can make it to Paris Olympics,” Iriawan says.