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Shuttlers can surprise: Vimal Kumar

August 06, 2004 21:41 IST

Aparna Popat, Abhinn Shyam Gupta and Nikhil Kanetkar have beaten some of the world's top badminton players and have the potential to spring surprises at the Athens Olympics, chief national coach Vimal Kumar said in Bangalore on Friday.

"All the three have beaten top players in the past. They have the capability to do so (again)," Vimal said, prior to his departure along with the trio to the Greece capital, on Friday.

He went on to add that even if the Indian shuttlers reach the quarter-final stage of the Olympic tournament it could be considered a "good achievement".

"If they go beyond that, it's a bonus", he declared.

Pointing out that Aparna, Gupta and Kanetkar are experienced shuttlers and have been playing international badminton for the last eight-nine years, Vimal said the trio know the opposition very well.

"But what's slightly missing is the fact that they have not been playing competitive badminton since April," he said.

Vimal said he has been telling the three that since there are "not much expectations" from them, they are under no pressure; so they have to concentrate and "get good results".

Meanwhile, the three players promised to give their best at Athens.

Aparna, the world number 23, who had been preparing for the mega event for the last three months, said she would work out her game plan once the draw is out on August 8.

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