Satwik-Chirag is our best bet, Lakshya, Treesa-Gayatri dark horses, says Leroy D'Sa on India's chances in Paris Olympics

Mumbai, July 2 (IANS) There is nobody more qualified in Indian badminton than Leroy D'Sa to talk about doubles in badminton. The only Indian shuttler to win four medals at the Asian Games, D'Sa is one of the finest doubles players the country has ever produced, and his success came at a time when doubles was the ignored art. D'Sa had to regularly set up scratch partnerships with top male and female singles players like Prakash Padukone, Ami Ghia, and Kanwal Thakur Singh to win medals in Asian Games doubles and mixed doubles.
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Satwik-Chirag is our best bet, Lakshya, Treesa-Gayatri dark horses, says Leroy D'Sa on India's chances in Paris Olympics

Mumbai, July 2 (IANS) There is nobody more qualified in Indian badminton than Leroy D'Sa to talk about doubles in badminton. The only Indian shuttler to win four medals at the Asian Games, D'Sa is one of the finest doubles players the country has ever produced, and his success came at a time when doubles was the ignored art. D'Sa had to regularly set up scratch partnerships with top male and female singles players like Prakash Padukone, Ami Ghia, and Kanwal Thakur Singh to win medals in Asian Games doubles and mixed doubles.

So when Leroy D'Sa picks a pair as a favourite to win a medal at the upcoming Paris Olympic Games, one has to sit down and take note of it.

D'Sa picked India's former World No.1 men's doubles pair Satwaksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty as India's best bet to win a medal in the upcoming Olympic Games, placing the pair ahead of two-time Olympics medallist P.V Sindhu.

"Players have been playing right throughout the year and there are too much of expectations. But I personally feel the most important point was to qualify for the Olympics. From all the players who have qualified I believe we have a very good chance of coming back with a bigger haul than ever," said D'Sa during a panel discussion on India's chances at the Paris Olympics organised by the Sports Journalists Association of Mumbai (SJAM) on the occasion of World Sports Journalists Day on Tuesday.

Hockey Olympian and Olympic Gold Quest CEO Viren Rasqinha, Athletics Federation of India President Adille Sumariwalla, chief coach of Indian rifle shooting team Suma Shirur and former India Davis Cupper Purav Raja were the other participants in the panle discussion.

D'Sa said that this time the badminton contingent at Paris will be the largest-ever from India at the Olympics as so many players have qualified for the Games.

"Two boys in the singles category (Lakshya Sen, H.S Prannoy), Sidhu in the women's singles, Chirag-Satwik in men's doubles. In my opinion, Chirag/Satwik are the best prospects to come back with a medal. I would place Sindhu next because she is the one who has tasted blood and knows what it takes to win at the highest level. She is once again in good form and I am very sure with the guidance that she is receiving from Prakash Padukone, winning a medal I don't think will be difficult," said D'Sa.

Three medals if not four: D'Sa

D'Sa, who won three bronze medals in the 1982 Asian Games in men's doubles, mixed doubles, and men's team and a fourth bronze in the 1986 Games in Seoul in men's team event, picked both Lakshya Sen and H.S Prannoy as dark horses.

"Lakshya Sen and H.S Prannoy both, to me, are the dark horses in the singles. Lakshya Sen once again has been playing extremely well. Unfortunately, HS Prannoy has been having some medical issues. He has not played very well. But I think now that is all over. If these players are able to be injury-free I am very sure that this time we will come back with at least three medals if not four," said D'Sa.

D'Sa also has high hopes from the young women's doubles pair of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand, who he said have gained enough experience and caused many upsets on the BWF circuit.

--IANS

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