Saina a breath of fresh air in badminton: Taufik

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Ace India shuttler Saina Nehwal is like a breath of fresh air in a sport dominated by the Chinese and with national coach Pullela Gopichand around she is in saf

Updated: December 20, 2009 18:11 IST
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Ace India shuttler Saina Nehwal is like a breath of fresh air in a sport dominated by the Chinese and with national coach Pullela Gopichand around she is in safe hands, feels ace Indonesian shuttler Taufik Hidayat.

Taufik feels with Saina and Chetan Anand leading the charge, Indian shuttlers have a great future ahead.

"With Saina and Chetan playing well, India can be a force to reckon with in badminton in future.

"Saina is like a breath of fresh air in women's singles which has been dominated by the Chinese and coach Gopichand has been a great guide for her. I feel with Gopichand around, Saina will get the best tips and guidance which will help her perform and prolong her life in the court," Taufik said.

Taufik, who considers his 2004 Summer Olympics gold medal as his best, said currently the Chinese are dominating the game globally as they have the best regeneration process.

"The Chinese are way ahead in badminton at the moment. Their domination and team strength is great as they have great bench strength. They keep producing players one after another, so they have the best second and third line players," he said.

The champion Indonesian shuttler had a very good season and he feels turning professional early in the year has helped his performance.

"Going professional early this year has helped me to focus more and have given me the freedom, which was missing when I was with the national team. Now I can choose which tournament to play and the freedom has been reflected in my performance," Taufik said.

The six-time Indonesian Super Series champion won the Indian Open, US Open and Macau Open this year.

Asked about his rivalry with three-time world champion Lin Dan of China, Taufik said, "Currently he is the best. Dan is in his golden age as I was when I was 24-24. His all round capability, speed, stamina are unparellel."

Taufik, who was here to play an exhibition match for Yonex in Syed Modi International Grand Prix tournament, said unlike this year he would like to take part in the tournament next time around.

"The facilities and the court are really good out here and I would like to come here next year as a player and participate. Lets see how things pan out," he said.

Asked about his favourite player, the 2005 World Champion said his first coach Iie Sumirat remains his icon.

"My coach Sumirat remains my favourite. He used to teach me when I was young. He belonged to the 1970s era," said Taufik, who won the Asian Games twice.

"When I announced the formation of the TRC just over two months ago, I noted that these group would monitor 'progress against promise'. I also said this group would be empowered to call in other technical experts as required," Fennell said.

"So the first part of this progress against promise will now be delivered in two ways. Firstly it will through the work of now expanded Coordination Commission (with the addition of four members) which as scheduled will visit Delhi on two further occasions ahead of the Games. Secondly, it will be through the ongoing work with the OC of our CEO Michael Hooper who is predominantly based in Delhi," Fennell said.

"The second aspect which was to come under the TRC - assisting the OC through access to functional area Games expertise in specific areas - will now be provided through the expansion of our existing support programme with the OC.

The cost associated with providing the OC with access to such support will be met by the CGF," he explained.

Fennell also thanked the Indian government for their unequivocal support for the Games including the recent approvals of the revised budgets.

"We will provide the OC access to appropriate expertise to assist them with three key areas --- venue operations, volunteer programme and Games readiness.

OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi admitted there were delays in the construction of venues but promised Fennell that the increased tempo of the preparation work will be sustained to ensure a successful Games.

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