China's badminton coach Li Yongbo on Friday said although India have a couple of good shuttlers in Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu, but overall they still have a long way to go before they can match up to their Chinese counterparts.
"India have a couple of good players in Saina and Sindhu. They are capable of beating anyone. But India will take some time before they can come at par with China. We are not too concerned about India," Yongbo said here on Friday during a media interaction ahead of the upcoming Thomas and Uber Cup Finals, to be held at the Siri Fort Sports complex from May 18-25.
He, however, admitted that India, Japan and Thailand are emerging stronger in badminton.
"Countries like China, Korea, Denmark, Indonesia and Malaysia were the traditional powerhouses in badminton but now even India, Japan and Thailand are emerging in a big way," Yongbo said.
Talking about badminton's popularity growing in India, Yongbo said, "The fact that a Super Series is held in India and now Thomas and Uber Cup Finals is also taking place shows India has emerged as a new market for badminton."
The coach said despite being the defending champions in both Thomas as well as Uber Cup, they will not be taking any team lightly.
"No doubt, we are a strong side, but in this tournament, we are not taking anyone lightly. We will be playing all our matches very seriously," he insisted.
China have been clubbed with Chinese Taipei, Russia and France in Thomas Cup, while in Uber Cup, they will be up against Chinese Taipei, Russia and England.
Yongbo expressed confidence of his team winning the Uber Cup and doing well in Thomas Cup.
"Overall, competition has gone up in badminton. We are facing challenges from almost all the teams. But we are confident of winning Uber Cup and are well prepared for Thomas Cup," he said.
The coach also said that his team now has more options in doubles as well.
"For the first time I have three doubles pairs to pick up from. Earlier there used to be just one. So in that sense also we are doing pretty well."