''Anup Sridhar has a chance of winning Olympics medal''

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

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

Tom John, a 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 in the present scoring format, Anup had a chance of winning. ''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 especially in an event like Olympics. ''Of course there will be a lot of pressure on Anup and our woman shuttler Saina Nehwal,'' he added.

To a question, he said Anup had beaten Maco Vanco of Portugal and Soto of Japan, whom he would 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 a heel injury which inflammed later.

''I think he has the confidence of beating them. The first two rounds may not pose any problem. If he gets through to the third, anything is possible,'' he felt.

About his experience as a travelling Coach, Tom said it was good and it gave him the opportunity to 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.

To a question, Tom said 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 DS RAR RN1824

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