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Indians shuttlers hope for better showing in Games

Written by: Staff

Melbourne, Mar 14 (UNI) Buoyant after the training in Indonesia, the Indian shuttlers are eyeing for a podium finish in the Commonwealth Games starting here tomorrow.

National coach U Vimal Kumar said that the players were in good nick after the training stint in Indonesia and hoped it would help their quest to win medals in the Games.

''It was a very good experience, training at their National Badminton Centre in Chipayung. They don't allow teams from other countries to train with their players. But this time, I don't know why, they allowed us. All their top players, including Taufik Hidayat, were there. We could train with them as they prepared for the Thomas Cup finals,'' the coach told Indian mediapersons here today.

Saying that the thrust was more on on-court drills during the training in Indonesia, Vimal said, ''We were keen for action on court to sharpen the players up and in that, the tour was fruitful.'' The Indian shuttlers arrived here yesterday after their 11-day training there and were housed in a city hotel because of lack of accommodation in the Games Village.

The Indian players, practised with and against the Scotland players this evening apart from training with their compatriots.

India is placed in Group D and will take on Trinidad and Tobago on March 16 and then Seychelles the next day. Their last group match is against England on March 18.

''We should win the first two matches. The third match will be crucial, for it will decide the group toppers, who will get to play the runners-up in Group C in the quarterfinals,'' said Vimal.

Singapore and Canada are expected to come through Group C and the Indians are keen to avoid the former, the stronger outfit of the two, in the last quarterfinals.

''A bronze medal in the team event will be a good achievement,'' said Vimal adding ''They have the ability to do well here, while the women have a 50-50 chance.'' In the open events, India are banking on National champion Anup Sridhar and Chetan Anand.

Vimal made his dislike known for the mixed team format in the competition but added ''Still I am very optimist that we will perform well here.'' UNI HSB AY PM1756

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