New Delhi, Feb 27 (IANS) Even though he may not be fully fit by the time the All England Badminton Championships start on March 14, Indian shuttler H.S. Prannoy feels that he needs to play the tournament in order to get into the groove ahead of this April’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
The 25-year-old returned to the national camp in Hyderabad in the first week of February to resume training after being sidelined due to a wart on his foot.
At the moment, for Prannoy, the Birmingham event may arrive too soon. But he doesn’t want to let it go as he sees it as an opportunity to get into competitive mode.
“At the moment I am training well. But training and match practice are different things. I need to play competitive matches and tournaments before the CWG,” Prannoy told IANS.
“The All England is dicey for me. Coming from any sort of injury is not easy but hopefully the situation will be better in two weeks’ time,” he added.
“The tournament and you see the crowd, they lift you,” Prannoy told IANS.
He also revealed that he learned and tried the art of throwing negativity out of his mind during the injury-enforced break.
Prannoy has a 2016 South Asian Games team gold in his cabinet, as well as an individual silver from the same competition and bronze in the Asia Team Championships the same year. He also won the US Open last year as he moved into the top-10 in global singles rankings.
He defeated compatriot Kidambi Srikanth in the final of the National Championships in November. Still he feels he has a lot of things to learn from the world No.2 from Guntur. Srikanth is the highest-ranked Indian in the category. The two shuttlers will carry big expectations from India.
Prannoy reckons that the Indian badminton contingent has proven performers and should be a strong contender in the mixed team event.
The young men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Saiwiksairaj Rankireddy will look to set the court on fire in their debut performance at the CWG, while Pranaav Jerry Chopra will pair up with N. Sikki Reddy for the mixed doubles clashes. “They all have been doing well in recent tournaments,” Prannoy said.
In the women’s singles department, Olympic medallists Sindhu and Saina Nehwal will shuffle roles as the team will pin hopes on the singles event. In the women’s doubles section, the pair of Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponappa will look to continue their great performances as Ashwini will try to emulate her 2010 gold medal winning run with her new partner.
“The women have been the flag-bearers in setting high standards. Be it World Championships or Olympics or any big event, they have proven their mettle,” he said.
(Abhishek Purohit can be contacted at [email protected])