Young Indian doubles specialist Chirag Shetty credited former Olympic bronze-medalist Saina Nehwal and World Champion PV Sindhu for making the game of badminton extremely popular across India. He believes that due to these two ladies, badminton now trails only cricket in terms of popularity across the nation.
“Badminton is currently the second most popular sport in the country after cricket. The meteoric rise of the sport is courtesy of the medals won by Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu at the Olympics. They have been the biggest motivation which the sport in our country needed and now everyone who wants to take up badminton professionally believes that it is possible,” Chirag stated.
The 22-year old, who has been successfully playing with Satwiksairaj Rankireddy in men’s doubles, has Commonwealth Games silver to his name. He believes that in order to tap more talent in the country, the introduction of University Games under the Khelo India initiative is a great move by the government.
“University games are a massive grassroots level competition in the western countries, they act as a breeding ground to tap talented athletes and nurture them for the future. I would like to thank the government for coming up with Khelo India University games initiative, which I am sure is certain to revolutionize the sporting culture in the country,” the young shuttler added.
Since Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa have stopped playing together at the international level, Indian doubles badminton hasn’t been very productive of success. However, Chirag and Rankireddy have been keeping the Indian flag flying and have been able to, at times, achieve moderate success in BWF World Tour events.
Chirag also opined that both monetary and scientific inputs will help improve the prospects of young, talented players like him.
“I think there are plenty of national-level prospects that can be tapped from the Khelo India University Games. If the deserved candidates can be helped with scholarships, nutrition and the right kind of guidance, we can create a strong pool of athletes who could eventually go on to represent India in the international circuit.”
Hopefully, Chirag’s words would be heard by the people in authority positions.Published 07 Feb 2020, 19:17 IST