Anand Pawar is a 31 year old Indian shuttler. He has immensely contributed towards Indian badminton by winning the Scottish International Open, Dutch International Open, French International Open, Maldives International Open and several other tournaments.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Anand Pawar talks about his badminton career.
What prompted you to choose badminton as your career? Who supported you during your ups and downs?
Pawar: I took up the sport because both my parents have played badminton for India. So watching them play really inspired me to take up the sport right at a young age. Both my parents, family and close friends have supported me right through my career. As you can imagine, an athlete has so many highs and lows in their sporting career. So it's very essential to have the support of their loved ones through those tough times.
PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth have been performing exceptionally in the recent tournaments. How has their presence increased the credibility of Indian badminton?
Pawar: The way the three of them have played and performed in the last few years, they have really broken barriers and inspired other Indian players to believe that it is possible to be among the best in the world if they follow the right training methods. And the best part is that it's not just the three of them but so many others like H.S. Prannoy, Ajay Jayaram, Sai Praneeth, and many young junior doubles players who are consistently beating the best in the world. Indian badminton has a very bright future.
You've been coached by your father Uday Pawar & Morten Frost. What is the best thing you've liked about them?
Pawar: My father has been my first coach and he will always be my only coach. He has been someone whom I can trust and without his guidance and support, I would've never reached the level of Badminton I have been able to play today. So, I owe it all to him. I moved to Denmark at a very crucial stage in my career and that's when I was coached by Morten Frost who is by far one of the most intelligent Badminton players I have ever come across in my career. I always admired the simplicity in his approach towards the game and also the way he would anticipate and prepare for the next challenge.
Indian contingent recently won the Gold Medal in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in the mixed team event. What do you want to comment on this accomplishment?
Pawar: In my opinion, I had expected them to win a Gold in the team event but I was very happy to see the way the doubles players performed in the semis and finals. Even though they might have been the favourites but to actually go out there and beat a tough Malaysian and English team was an exceptional achievement and I am very happy for all the players.
Which particular match or tournament has been worth remembering for you?
Pawar: I would say beating Hu Yun Of Hong Kong in the India Super Series was very special to me as he was the current World No. 3 and I went on to reach the semi-finals of that event. I would also say that winning the Scottish Open in 2012 was very special to me as I had been struggling with an injury and yet managed to play really well and moved onto win the tournament. It was great to win the tournament after a really tough final against Kazumasa Sakai of Japan.
Lakshya Sen gave a tough fight to a player like Lin Dan at just an age of 16. Where do you see him in the future looking onto his recent developments?
Pawar: Lakshya has provided some good results over the last 12 months including winning a game of Lin Dan in 2 consecutive matches. I'm sure he enjoyed that and had a lot to learn from the rest of the match but he has a long way to go. I hope he can train smart and stay injury free so he is able to sustain a high level of play consistently. He is relatively new on the circuit so other teams will start analyzing him. Furthermore, he will have to learn to keep changing his game and tactics all the time but I'm sure as he gains more experience he will be able to handle the pressure.
There are various young shuttlers who aspire to represent their nation. What piece of advice would you like to give to them?
Pawar: I'd just like to say to the younger players that they have to be really professional on court as well as off court because it's not enough to just train hard on court but also the recovery, rest, nutrition part which needs to be attended to. Everyone has to find their own path to success and the younger generation should keep working hard and try to be the best in the world.Published 05 Jun 2018, 20:23 IST