India has decided to bring in top badminton coach, Indonesian Agus Dwis Santoso, to help improve the form of their top singles players ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. Santoso has in the past coached the likes of Indonesia’ Hendrawan, who won silver for his country at the Sydney Olympics, and was a world champion a year later in the men’s singles. And, amongst the other players he has coached was the 2002 All England finalist and Jakarta Asiad bronze medal winner, Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan.
Four years ago Santoso was the coach of South Korea during the Rio Olympics, and, during his tenure, Son Wan-ho achieved the number one world ranking in terms of men’s singles.
His last position was as a coach to the Thailand national side before he decided to apply for the India job.
His appointment was approved by the Sports Authority of India (SAI), and was officially ratified by the Sports Ministry last year.
It is hoped that Santoso can help turn around the ailing fortunes of some of India’s top badminton players, among them Olympic silver medallist and current world champion PV Sindhu, whose form has slumped dramatically in recent months,
Tipped as a possible gold medallist for Tokyo this summer, her dip in form has been attributed to the sudden departure of national team coach Kim. J, Hyun last September. The South Korean quit his job with the Indian national team for personal reasons, and Sindhu has not been the same player since, suffering a string of early defeats in international tournaments.
Hyun helped coach Sindhu to world championship gold in Basel last August.
Other Indian badminton players like Kidambi Srikanth and Saina Nehwal have also been out of sorts and struggling to achieve results in the past few months, which is worrying with the Tokyo Games looming.
Another Korean, Park Tae Sung is currently the only specialist singles’ coach to be found at the Gopichand academy in Hyderabad, but he has been unable to affect any noticeable upturn in performance from his charges.
Santoso is expected to arrive in India during the first or second week in March and will be paid US $ 8,000 a month. His contract will be up for review after the Olympic Games – a satisfactory showing by the team there is likely to see it extended until the next Olympic cycle.