Chirag Shetty is an Indian shuttler who won the gold medal in the Mixed Team event and the silver medal in the Men's Doubles event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Moreover, he also finished as the semi-finalist along with Satwiksairaj in the Men's Doubles of the Indonesian Open 2018.
In an exclusive interview, Chirag Shetty talks about his badminton career.
What was the feeling when you went on the podium in the Mixed Team event and Men's Doubles event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games?
Shetty: Me and Satwik never imagined to represent the nation at such a high level and win a medal. Till 2017, our aim was just to improve our rankings. Just 2-3 months before the inauguration of CWG 2018, we thought of participating in this event and eventually, we were successful in winning medals as well.
When we were standing at the top of the podium, it was definitely a very proud moment for us. We were successful in bagging the Gold Medal in the Mixed Team Event and silver in the Men's Doubles category. In these kinds of events, the pressure is very high and we were successful in combating the pressure which was a great accomplishment for us.
What all modifications did you make in your training which helped you in bagging the medals in the CWG 2018?
Shetty: Last season was pretty good for us as we managed to get into the quarter-finals of few super-series'. We actually thought that we are in a good position and should be consistent in our performances.
However, we ended the season on a bad note. It was quite depressing as these tournaments were important for the preparation of CWG 2018. Furthermore, I also didn't practice for two months because of my exams.
After that, we had a gap of two months for our next tournament in Indonesia. It was a great tournament for us as we defeated the World No. 10 team and came as semi-finalists from there. We never expected that but that performance gave us a major boost for our future tournaments. As a result, we were successful in bagging medals at CWG 2018.
You and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy have been playing together for a couple of years now. What kind of relations do you share with each other?
Shetty: Well, if you want to perform well on the court then it's important to establish good relations outside the court as well. If you have good bonding outside the court then it will be clearly reflected on the court. This is one of the reasons which has helped me and Satwik to perform well in the tournaments. We have a good friendship outside the court which enables us to do well on the court as well.
What prompted you to choose badminton as your career? Who supported you during your ups and downs?
Shetty: I started playing badminton at the age of 7. Initially, I just played it as my hobby. I always enjoyed playing this game. My father has played an important role in my life. Even my mother has been equally supportive in my life. Till the age of 18, I used to reside at my hometown itself. However, after that, I was asked to train in Hyderabad. It was a difficult decision but I had to go on with it.
We have reached the half-way stage of this season. What are your plans for the rest of the reason?
Shetty: We aim to get into the top 15 by the end of this year. Hopefully, we'll be able to achieve it.
Which particular match or tournament has proved to be the turning point of your career?
Shetty: Well, the best tournament which we have played has been the Indonesia Open. We finished as the semi-finalists of the tournament. We defeated players who were amongst the top-15 in the tournament. Earlier too, we were successful in defeating the World No. 4 team in a tournament but the Indonesian Open has been the most memorable tournament in my life.
There are various young shuttlers who aspire to represent their nation. What piece of advice would you like to give to them?
Shetty: Firstly, the youngsters should develop an interest in the game. Later, if you're performing well in the game, then you can think of making it your career. However, first you should enjoy your game and then if you see it in your future, you should certainly go ahead with it.
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