National badminton coach Pullela Gopichand has high hopes from the Indian contingent as he feels the athletes can go one step ahead in the ongoing Tokyo Games.
The former Indian badminton player on Friday wished everyone who are participating in the Tokyo Olympic Games. He said that over the last one and a half years, every field of work has faced hurdles and so did the sports field.
Gopichand said that he is expecting Indian players to win more medals. He stressed that this year's Olympics is not going to be easy as many players from across the country had tough times practicing their game.
"Every year counts for a sportsperson and it is really important that the Olympics are being conducted this year even during this Pandemic," Gopichand told ANI.
"We have been very fortunate as the last two times at the Olympics, we had a bronze and a silver. This time maybe we can have a medal which is probably more and better than Rio," he added.
"To see the Olympic Games happening is very good and heartening. For me personally, the effort which the government has taken to celebrate, to encourage the qualifiers is something really amazing. CHEER4INDIA' that will help and encourage the Indian players at Olympics," said Gopichand.
"I think to have the Prime Minister kick it off and the Sports Minister Anurag Thakur taking it up and encouraging the contingent is really wonderful. Normally we would see only celebrations after the team comes and wins a medal. To have the Prime Minister talk about it and celebrate the qualification is really wonderful," he added.
Meanwhile, five-time world champion Mary Kom and men's hockey captain Manpreet Singh led the way as India made its way at the Parade of Nations during the Opening Ceremony of Tokyo Olympics on Friday at the Japan National Stadium.
Back home, Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Anurag Thakur was also seen waving the Indian flag as the Indian contingent made its way into the stadium.
Twenty-five members from the Indian contingent attended the Opening Ceremony amid the COVID-19 concerns in the Japanese capital.