You need to be a bit selfish to succeed, says Mathias Boe

Mentor: Boe has been instrumental in bringing the best out of India’s Satwik-Chirag duo.
| Photo Credit: Stan Rayan

Indian badminton saw a wonderful high in doubles this year with Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty breaking new ground. And after winning gold at the Asians and Asian Games, the pair climbed to the top of the men’s doubles world rankings.

As the duo prepares for next year’s Olympics, their coach Mathias Boe, who transformed them into one of the world’s best pairs feels how the two handle mind games will be crucial for success in Paris.

“The pressure on your shoulders at the Olympics is crazy, mostly from yourself and also from your country. Satwik and Chiraj have a good chance of winning a medal, so they will feel the pressure a little bit more,” said Boe, the former men’s doubles World No. 1, in a chat with The Hindu at the Muthoot Alwin’s Badminton Academy here on Saturday.

“Mentally, we will try and prepare the most but at the end of the day, it is how they handle the pressure that will matter.”

Close contest

The 43-year-old from Denmark feels anybody from the world’s top eight or 10 pairs are capable of winning in Paris. Satwik and Chirag, currently World No. 2, will now be working to be among the top four in the seedings for the Paris Olympics.

While the pair is riding a happy wave, Boe feels the rest of the Indians in doubles need a change in attitude.

“There’s been a little bit of a standstill in the last 12 months. Instead of using Satwik and Chirag as the target, they use them as their role model. So instead of looking at them with a ‘hey, I want to beat them, become better than them,’ attitude, they are a little bit like, ‘I can’t beat them so what am I practising for’,” said Boe who won the men’s doubles silver at the 2012 London Olympics.

Impressed by Jena

He is impressed with javelin thrower Kishore Jena’s attitude and feels players need to be a bit selfish to succeed. “You need to put yourself first. Selfishness is not a negative word in my world. If more people are selfish, they would put themselves first and they would strive to achieve something,” he said.

“I met Neeraj and the guy (Kishore Jena, Asian Games javelin silver medallist), he was leading until one of the last throws at the Asiad. He has Neeraj as an idol, but he also has that attitude like, ‘I want to see if I can beat him’. And all of a sudden in a big final, he was actually close to winning,” he said.

“It’s important to have that attitude; you can be respectful and have somebody as a role model, but you also need to be hungry to beat him and be better. That is the right rivalry you need to have.”

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