Prajakta Sawant’s story has been a familiar one yet very intriguing. She has been more on the headlines due to controversies in the badminton circuit which has shaded her career as a promising shuttler. She continues to play as a doubles player.
Prajakta was born on 28th October 1992 in Mumbai. She had been a skillful shuttler but there had been problems with her as said by many of her coaches. Once her father even pulled her out of the game saying she needed to focus on studies more and that people were trying to ruin his daughter’s career.
However she did make a comeback in a few months and even went onto become the the first ever Indian girl to win a medal( bronze) at the Asian Championship level when she teamed up with Raj Kumar to bag the Asian U-15 mixed doubles title in 2007. At this time she quit to play for Maharashtra to play for Andhra Pradesh after she was asked to play qualifying rounds of junior nationals since she had not competed in a number of state selection tournaments required to make the team and also refused to turn up for the trials.
As already cited above Prajakta has often made headlines for controversies and perhaps this is the most famous one. In 2012 she accused national coach Pullela Gopichand of bias and harassment. This snowballed into bigger issues when ace shuttler Jwala Gutta stepped in taking Prajakta’s side further exposing the rift in the Indian badminton circuit and cropping up nepotism and favouritism issues. Though the controversy got settled such things haunted her career in the latter stages also.
This period was also memorable to her since she won the National Women’s doubles championship in 2010 and 2011 and the mixed doubles one in 2010. In 2013 she won the Bangladesh International Tournament with Aratha Sunil. She also reached her career best ranking of 37 on 16 August 2012 in women’s doubles.
Difficult period and return
Since the court cases in her battle against Gopichand, she had been through hard times. With no support from BAI it was difficult to carry on. She predominantly played the doubles partnering Arathi Sara Sunil, Aparna Balan and Sanyogita Ghorpade. She has also made a successful mixed doubles partnership with Yogendran Krishnan since 2016. Her relationship with Gopichand and the BAI had also improved since then.
It’s 2018 and she was again in the headlines for lashing out at the Badminton Authority of India(BAI) for withdrawing without her consent, her entry with Malaysia’s Yogendra Krishnan from the mixed doubles category of the World Championship and allowing lower ranked Rohan Kapoor and Kuhoo Garg.
BAI has said that being an Indian entity they cannot allow Prajakta to take part in the championship with a foreign citizen although the same duo participated in the same tournament in 2017. Speculation remains and Prajakta has decided to see to it like she did in previous occasions.