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India Can Win Four Badminton Medals At Asian Games 2023



HS Prannoy recently achieved his career-best No.7 in BWF Rankings and is the best-placed Indian shuttler in singles (across men and women) category.

HS Prannoy EXCLUSIVE: 'India Can Win Four Badminton Medals In Asian Games 2023'
HS Prannoy EXCLUSIVE: India Can Win Four Badminton Medals In Asian Games 2023

New Delhi: Star Indian shuttlers like PV Sindhu, Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth and others may not have been on many podiums in 2023, but HS Prannoy feels the country will better their 2018 performances in the upcoming Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.

Fielding one of the best teams for the Jakarta Asian Games, India came home with just two medals – Sindhu (silver) and Saina Nehwal (bronze) – in women’s singles, a rare sight in Indian badminton. However, things will change in Hangzhou, according to Prannoy.

“I think 2018 was a great edition for the badminton because we had two medals and I think in this year’s edition of Asian Games we can almost look upon four medals,” Prannoy, who rose to career-best No.7 in BWF Rankings recently, told in an exclusive interaction.

“It’s going to be really tough but as we look into the team, I think we have almost four events where we have a good chance of getting medal,” added the 30-year-old. Incidentally, Prannoy crashed out in the Round of 32 in men’s singles in the 2018 Asian Games.

Prannoy Eyes World No.1 Ranking

With 66,147 points in his kitty from 17 tournaments, Prannoy remains the best-placed Indian singles player in the BWF Rankings followed by double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu, who improved a spot to be at 11th position in women’s singles category.

Prakash Padukone was the first Indian player to top the BWF Rankings before Kidambi Srikanth became the second male player to make it to the top spot in 2018. Saina Nehwal was the first female Indian player to achieve the world no. 1 spot.

Prannoy aims to become the fourth overall. “It feels great to be honest. Because to be ranked seventh in the world, I would say I would give a lot of credit to myself. It has been a tough journey obviously from 30-32 in the rankings in 2021 and to be ranked seven and that’s my career-best ranking.

“So, 2023 has been a great journey. The last two years were a lot of roller coaster journey but I am glad that I could achieve the no. seven ranking and hopefully, six more to go race the world No.1,” added Prannoy.

Focus On Asian Games, World Championships

Not looking too much ahead, Prannoy wants to focus on the Asian Games and the World Championships this year and do well before the Paris Olympics 2024. “Winning a medal in Asian Championships (Games) and World Championships this year and for me winning the medal in both events would be the major wishlist as of now.

“I am really aiming to play well in these big events,” said the Arjuna Awardee before adding the prepartion for Paris 2024 Olympics has already started for the Indian shuttlers. “Well for us the Olympics qualification has already started as we are playing quite a bit of tournaments for the next three-four months.

“I am playing Malaysia Open, Singapore Open, and Indonesia Open before the Asian Games in September and we have World Championships before so these are the five events which would be really big for me.

“We already started training for World Championships and Asian Games. It would be really interesting how Asian Games are going to happen this time in China, so really looking forward to it,” he said. While Asian Games is scheduled to take place in September-October, the World Championships are slated for a month earlier in Denmark.

BWF Came With Ban At Right Time

Asked about his opinion on badminton’s spin serve ban rule, Prannoy backed the Badminton World Federation (BWF) saying that it was nearly impossible to retrieve that spin serve and ‘BWF came with the ban at the right time’.

“I feel it was the right move because a lot of players started to do the spin serve. It was nearly impossible to retrieve that spin serve, to be honest, that would have killed the game and I would say BWF came with the ban at the right time and I think it this is the right decision,” he said.

Positives From Sudirman Cup Disappointment

Throwing a light on India’s disappointing recently-concluded Sudirman Cup 2023 performance where they crashed out of the group stage, Prannoy chose to take out the positives and hope to perform better in the upcoming events.

“Individually I had a tough match. I had a victory against Australia but I think as a team there was a little bit of disappointment, to be honest, to be out in the group stage,” said the Youth Olympics silver medallist.

“There has been a lot of learnings for us as a team. And now I am glad that we have a team that was very supportive to each other and we created an atmosphere where everyone was really organised.

“I hope in coming team events we perform much better and get medals for the country,” concluded Prannoy. India lost to Malaysia and Chinese Taipei in their first two group stage encounters at the Sudirman Cup 2023 before ending the campaign with a 4-1 win over Australia.

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