Gopichand was the last Indian to win the All England Championship in 2001, achieving the coveted feat, 21 years after Prakash Padukone's 1980 title.

PV Sindhu perfectly placed to end Indias 18-yr wait for All England title Gopichand
Sports Badminton Saturday, January 12, 2019 - 20:06

His eyes set on ending the 18-year-old wait for an Indian to become an All England champion, national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand on Friday hinted that PV Sindhu is perfectly placed to achieve the rare feat after a stellar 2018 in which the star shuttler clinched the season-ending World Tour Finals title to end on a high.

Gopichand was the last Indian to win the All England Championship in 2001, achieving the coveted feat, 21 years after Prakash Padukone's 1980 title.

Asked about Sindhu's superb run last year and the targets this year, he said: "I think last year Sindhu has done well in all big tournaments. The World Tour Finals win has been even better. It's a great start to come in to this year."

Sindhu capped a successful season where she won silver medals at the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, World Championship and finished runners-up at the India Open and the Thailand Open.

The All England Open and the World Championships are slated to take place this year, and Gopichand said with the Olympic qualifying also there, the aim would be to ensure the biggest team goes to Tokyo.

"We have two major tournaments this year, the All England Championship and World Championships, also we have the Olympics Qualifying. The main target will be to ensure that we have high ranking and go to the Olympics with the biggest team," the 45-year-old said on the sidelines of a promotional event.

Last year wasn't a good one for Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy as they returned trophy less. But Gopichand remained hopeful of their comeback this year, blaming the hectic schedule for their below par shows.

"At the end of the year, we have four athletes in the top 20. I am happy with the men's singles (show). Of course 2017 has been phenomenal. This was much tougher than 2017. We had two big tournaments -- the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games -- which also took away two months of preparation time.

"And also the new BWF calendar asked top players to play lot more. Injuries were also there. Prannoy was recovering from an injury but overall for Srikanth, although it might sound that it has been a championship-less year, he has consistently reached quarters/semis. He is somebody who is very good and will make a comeback."

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