NEW DELHI – Former Malaysian national badminton player Tan Kim Her is settling in well as the doubles head coach of the Indian national team.
He has even set the target of at least two pairs of his charges qualifying for the Rio Olympics in September next year.
The 44-year-old coach signed a five-year contract effective September with the Indian Sports Council as part of the Badminton Association of India (BAI) effort to ensure a podium finish at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Tan, who is based in Hyderabad, Telangana, with the Indian national team, said he did not face much difficulty in settling in and was already working with the senior and junior teams.
He said he had been working closely with the Indian men’s top pair of Manu Attri and B. Sumesh Reddy and the women’s pair of Jwala Gupta and Ashwini Ponnappa.
Tan is confident that Manu and Sumesh Reddy, who are currently 20th on the Badminton World Federation ranking, still have the chance to qualify for Rio even though only the top 14 can qualify for the Games.
He said the pair won the Mexico GP last week and is expected to improve on its ranking to 17th position soon.
As for Jwala and Ashwini, Tan said they were currently ranked 13th and won’t face much difficulty to qualify.
Tan, who has been head doubles coach of England and South Korea, said he enjoyed a good working relationship with the head coach of India, Pullela Gopichand.
“He is assisting me to settle in much faster than I had anticipated, and facilities at his academy (Gopichand Badminton Academy) are on par with other world badminton academies,” he said.
Tan said that other than the senior pairs, he been working with the junior pairs as well.
“These junior players used to decide on their partners on their own, but now I’m assisting them to decide on their partners based on the style and strength of each individual player.
“They (India) have some promising young doubles players and by the Tokyo Games they can be major treat to other top pairs of the world,” he said.