Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Injured Indian shuttler HS Prannoy on road to recovery

The Indian campaign at the Sudirman Cup might have come to an early end after crashing out in the league stages but there is some good news for the country's badminton fans.

Injured HS Prannoy has been recovering very well and will be ready for participating in the international tournaments in a couple of weeks time. An unfortunate toe injury at the Singapore Open in April had kept him out of action for more than a month now.

The injury was against the run of play for this fast-rising 22-year-old shuttler. The Kerala youngster was in the form of his life, which had helped him reach the career-best world ranking of 14.

Prannoy's spectacular performance in the last one year or so has not only helped him break into the world's top-20 in a record time but also made him one of the most dangerous players on the circuit.

The tall and well-built youngster has made world No. 3 Jan O Jorgensen his bunny. Prannoy had upset Denmark's Jorgensen twice in as many weeks.

He shocked top seed Jorgensesn 18-21, 21-14, 21-14 in the second round of India Open Super Series at Delhi on March 26. A couple of weeks later, Prannoy did even better when he ousted the Danish star in straight games 21-16, 21-8 at the Singapore Open.

"Yes those two were very good victories for me. I could really play well both the times against Jan. Especially in Singapore, I was really dominating. That was promising. That was a good phase for me," said Prannoy, who has now slipped a rung below to world No. 15.

A trainee of Pullela Gopichand Academy, Prannoy could have entered the semifinal of the India Open but lost a very close match against sixth seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark. Prannoy had started in style by winning the first game but lost 21-16, 9-21, 18-21.

Earlier this year, he had also come quite close to beating Rajiv Ouseph of England at the All England Championship. Here also after winning the opening game, he lost the decider at 18.

With recovery process is on, Prannoy will miss the forthcoming Australia and Indonesia Super Series but is optimistic of continuing from where he had left before the injury.

"I don't know how much time it will take to come back to good form after this injury but I am confident of doing well," said Prannoy, an employee of ONGC.

The winner of 2014 Indonesia Open Grand Prix Gold, Prannoy now wants to win Super Series title soon. "It was a special win for me because I had never won a big title so that title means a lot to me. My short term goal is to win a Super Series event and get into top-10. The focus will be on to play consistently well at the international level," he said.

Prannoy gives credit to his coach Gopichand for the giant leap in ranking, "I think he (Gopichand) has been phenomenal. He has changed me as a person. I think my game improved only because of him after I joined his Hyderabad academy in 2009," he said.

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