Anup has chance of winning a medal in Beijing: Coach

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Bangalore, Aug 4 (UNI) Ace shuttler Anup Sridhar has a chance of winning the medal despite the tough field in badminton in the Beijing Olympics beginning later this week, his coach Tom John said here today.

Talking to UNI, he said, "Anup is capable of winning a medal in the Beijing as he is highly talented, shrewd and is a much improved shuttler. He is fully geared up to meet the big challenge." 25-year-old Anup, ranked 30 in the world is the lone Indian shuttler to qualified for Men's Singles event. He left the city today to travel to Beijing via New Delhi.

Tom John, the former England player, was appointed as travelling coach of Anup by Tata-Padukone Academy six months ago to give a boost to former National champion.

He said that in the present scoring format, Anup had a chance of winning medal. "He underwent difficult times for the last six months due to injury. But now he is fresh and hungry to spring some surprises," Tom said The coach said underdogs always had a chance to score in Badminton and especially in an event like Olympics. "Of course there will be lot of pressure on Anup and our women shuttler Saina Nehwal, are making their maiden trip to Olympics," he added.

Replying to a question, he said that the draw had been as Anup had beaten Maco Vanco of Portugal and Soto of Japan, whom he will be playing against in the first and second rounds, respectively.

Anup had beaten Soto a couple of times including in Swiss Open before he suffered under the heel injury which inflamed at the later days.

"I think he has the confidence of beating them earlier. First two rounds may not be problem. If he gets through to the third, anything is possible," he felt.

About his experience as Travelling Coach, Tom said it was a good experience and it gave him opportunity concentrate on a particular individual, unlike being a coach for a team of 15 players.

"Anup has to concentrate only on his game and other things are taken care of by me as I act as his mentor, coach and guardian," he said.

Replying to a question, Tom said that he was disappointed as the Badminton Association of India (BAI) selected former All England Champion P Gopichand to accompany the badminton players to Beijing.

UNI MSP RS SKB1722

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