Up and coming shuttler RMV Gurusaidutt has revealed how Parupalli Kashyap’s quarter-final run at the London Olympics last year changed the face of men’s singles badminton. Guru mentioned that Kashyap’s run gave the other players a lot of inspiration and that he wants to take a leaf out of his senior partner’s book and break into the top-15 in the world rankings this year, as reported by TOI.
Kashyap became the first male Indian badminton player to make the quarter-finals at an Olympic event and Guru says that achievement gave the others self-belief.
Kashyap had become the first Indian men badminton player to reach the quarterfinals of the Olympics in London last year and Guru said his performance instilled self-belief among his fellow shuttlers to do well at the international level.
“Men singles have always been in the limelight for Prakash (Padukone) sir and Gopi ( Pullela Gopichand) sir and seniors like Arvind, Chetan and Anup. But suddenly there was a gap and no one was in the top 20. But I think it was Kashyap’s performance at London Olympics that changed everything,” Guru said.
“It raised the bar. We have seen Kashyap train and have played against him at the academy. He has done something great at the Olympics. So I also started believing in myself and gradually one has become two and two has become four. So it was his performance that has changed the momentum of Indian men’s singles.”
“It was sad that he could not win a medal at the world championship. It would have further inspired all of us to do well. But I can say that all are equal now in men’s singles,” added Guru, who reached his career-best ranking of top 20 last month.
Guru, who was a gold medallist at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games and bronze medallist at the 2008 World Junior Championships in Pune, said the number of talented players in the academies has increased and that it has brought with it more intensity in the practice sessions, resulting in better performances.
“It helps a lot to play against different players in the academy. Earlier, I used to play Kashyap and Sai Praneeth, so it was 2-3 players but now we have seven or eight different players at the centre. So the intensity is also high at the practice. It is giving us more results in the men’s singles.”
23-year-old Guru is looking to add more strength to his game and wants to break into the top-15 by the end of the year.
“I have to add on my strength. I have been doing it but I have to keep doing it more. I am a counter-attacking player, that is my game,” he said.
“I had come into the top 20 but last week, I dropped down to 23. So by the end of the year, I want to get into top 15. I would be happy if I can do that. Next year, we have big events coming up such as Commonwealth Games, Thomas Cup, Asian Games and I want to be a part of the team and win medals for the country.”
“But this year, top 15 would be a good target. I think I can do that because whenever I had set a target for myself, I have been able to achieve that. I know I can beat the best,” he added.
He also was of the opinion that the Indian Badminton League (IBL) will help the Indian players perform better at the Thomas and Uber Cup tournaments, which will be held in India next year.
“I did well in IBL. I lost very closely and in 11-point game it is like a toss. But it was a great experience for me as we don’t get to play too many team events. Beating Darren Liew was a good win. So overall, it was a good experience,” said Guru, who played for Awadhe Warriors in IBL.
“It will help us to do well in Thomas Cup next year. It is happening here and we have a good chance. We have got many singles players who are playing at the same level and in Thomas Cup, it is three men’s singles and two men’s doubles. IBL will definitely help in Thomas Cup.”
After skipping the Japan Open last week, Guru is looking forward to playing in the Denmark Open.
“I was tired after IBL and I hardly had time to recover before Japan Open. I took a week off as I had fallen sick on the last day of the IBL as I played till the end. I had 4-5 weeks after IBL so I thought of skipping Japan and start preparing for Denmark Open,” said Guru.
“After I recovered from my sickness, I started training slowly. It has been just around two weeks since I begun my practice,” he added.