• Monday, May 27, 2024

BADMINTON

Belief helps HS Prannoy end six-year drought

Last Sunday, Prannoy ended the title drought with a 21-19, 13-21 21-18 win over China’s Weng Hong Yang in a pulsating men’s singles final at the Malaysia Masters Super 500 tournament

HS Prannoy celebrates on the podium after winning the Malaysia Masters title last Sunday (28)

By: Eastern Eye

India shuttler HS Prannoy had almost given up on winning his next title and breaking a six-year drought before chief national coach Pullela Gopichand instilled in him the belief that there is more to come from him.

Last Sunday, Prannoy ended the title drought with a 21-19, 13-21 21-18 win over China’s Weng Hong Yang in a pulsating men’s singles final at the Malaysia Masters Super 500 tournament.

The win helped him to claim his maiden Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour title and also the first singles crown of the year for India.

“I think there are too many emotions. The last six years have been too much of a rollercoaster. I didn’t expect that a title will happen after six years, to be honest. I mean if you would have asked me in 2017 I don’t think I would have told you that I will win in 2023. So lots of mixed emotions,” Prannoy said after the title triumph.

“Thanks to all the coaches, support staff and Gopi sir. He kept telling me that it will happen one day and I should keep believing,” he added.

The 30-year-old Prannoy, who is ranked ninth in the world and India’s best at the moment, also thanked his former teammate RMV Gurusai Dutt, who turned to coaching after retiring in June last year, for helping him out in his hour of need.

Prannoy said he has not slept well in the last three days. “My team was a bit worried that I am not sleeping. There was so much emotion, you are excited to come out and play in front of this beautiful crowd,” he said.

Prannoy was instrumental in India’s epic Thomas Cup victory last year but an individual title has eluded him since the 2017 US Open Grand Prix.

Last weekend, however, Prannoy gave ample display of his fortitude as he outfoxed his opponents – world No 5 Chou Tien Chen, All England champion Li Shi Feng and Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto – in three games on way to the title clash.

“The draw was really tough for me, I had tough matches. I had to really dig deep in the four matches. It all went to the wire. It shows how much I was patient and my fitness was also decent.”

Prannoy has battled a series of injuries and health issues before turning his career around towards the end of 2021.

“I need to be smart enough to see which tournaments to play and which to back out and train in between the tournaments.

“It (the triumph) gives a lot of insights,” he said.

“When you dig deep and win such matches, that helps you find a lot of hidden gems, you will be discovering those after a long time and realise that you can do that.

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