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Crack the whip on under-performing players: Padukone

June 14, 2004 16:10 IST

Expressing hurt over "lack of commitment" by some of India's top shuttlers in international tournaments, legendary badminton player Prakash Padukone has called for cracking the whip against players who do not give their best.

"What hurts me is the lack of commitment, it's not so much the lack of results. If you don't go all out, if you don't give your best ... I think the least one can expect when one is playing for the country is commitment and 100 per cent effort," Padukone said.

On the perception that India's top badminton players were complacent while playing in international tournaments and did not show as much commitment and determination that they show during domestic events, a view echoed by chief national coach U Vimal Kumar, Padukone said: "To some extent, I tend to agree. (But) we can't generalise."

"But there are players who take things for granted. I think the Badminton Association of India has to do a little more on this ... set targets for them (the players) and make proper review of their performance when they come back. Take remedial measures.

"You should be bold to accept that performance in local tournaments is not the only criterion for selection," the former All England Champion said.

Stating that some amount of responsibility should be thrust on players, Padukone said: "If the player also knows that nobody is bothered and they will not be dropped, obviously some of them will take it for granted."

He said there was definitely need for "more scrutiny" of players' performance and it needed to be reviewed on a regular basis. "I think it will help, it will be in the interest of the players, the game and Indian badminton."

On the Olympic Games, Padukone said in the last edition, P Gopichand was a medal prospect but (now) "we are at a stage where if we qualify, we feel proud and happy."

"Qualifying itself should not be the only criterion. We should be looking at better things than that, and do well in Olympics to the extent possible. 

"I am not saying that we should win medals ... maybe reach pre-quarter-finals or quarter-finals. We should have a little broader view."

On Aparna Popat's prospects at the Olympics, he said it would be "tough for her as there are a lot of Chinese, Japanese and European players also in the fray."

"She (Aparna) is playing well and a lot depends on the draw. She will have to create an upset or two to be in the medal bracket. Her recent form does not suggest anything like that. But you can never say. She is a hard-working girl and quite focussed. We can wish her all the luck and hope that she does well.  It won't be easy but, at the same time, it won't be impossible," Padukone said.

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