Photo Credit: Xinhua
I have had some good results in 2015, and I am aiming to perform more consistently in 2016. I want to maintain my form in the coming year, and break into the top five again (he is currently ranked ninth). The competition, as always, is very tough. I have to work really hard, and give my best to be counted among the top players. If I am able to do well on the circuit and maintain my ranking, it gives me a good shot at qualifying for the Olympics, but I don’t want to think too far ahead – I will take it one match at a time.
League of opportunity
The new year is starting with the Premier Badminton League, and with top players coming down to India, we have some really good matches lined up. It will give badminton fans in the country a chance to witness top quality action, and I hope that we can hold their attention through the year with good results.
The league will also give upcoming players, some of whom are still teenagers, amazing exposure as they will be competing alongside top singles and doubles stars like Lee Chong Wei, Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen. If this league is sustained, it can help promote the sport in a big way by bringing in more sponsors, It can also become a platform for emerging players to prove their mettle.
Getting a chance to represent India at the biggest stage in world sport would be a dream come true for me. But, like I mentioned earlier, I don’t want to look too much into the future. My main aim is to play well consistently, and maintain my rankings to have a good chance of qualifying for the Olympics, and then win a medal in Rio.
Badminton is becoming more popular in India, and we have several players in the top 20. While top players are getting some recognition, there is still a lot that can be done at the grassroots-level, and for upcoming players.
In my case, GoSports Foundation has been supporting my journey since 2012 when I was just 18. In the run-up to the Olympics, we have received support from the government through the Target Olympic Podium Scheme, and things are looking up for the sport. I hope the new year is even better for Indian Badminton.