After PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Srikanth Kidambi, another Indian badminton star has risen from the state of Andhra Pradesh, B Sai Praneeth. He was born on 10th August 1992 in Hyderabad. He took the badminton world by storm after defeating former world and Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat in 2013. He has not looked back since then and is currently one of India's most promising shuttlers.
Sai Praneeth started playing badminton at a very young age. When coach Pullela Gopichand decided to start his own badminton academy in Hyderabad, Praneeth was one of the first few shuttlers who impressed him and was taken under his wings.
In 2010 he announced himself to the world with some sensational performances at the BWF Junior World Championships. He went on to bag the bronze medal after losing to current world number 4, Viktor Axelsen of Denmark. In the same year he won the Iran International men’s singles title and bagged the men’s doubles title with Pranav Chopra. In 2012, Praneeth won the Bahrain International Tournament by beating the Sri Lankan Olympian, Niluka Karunaratne. Later that year, he finished as the Runner-up in the Indian Open. Sai Praneeth’s first big win came as a 20-year-old in 2013 , when he defeated former All England Champion Muhammad Hafiz Hashim of Malaysia. He also floored former Olympic champion, Taufik Hidayat in front of his home crowd.
Praneeth has always been a brilliant badminton player but there was a time when he failed to live up to the expectations due to lack of fitness and subsequent injuries. As pressure mounted, his tactics failed and due to injuries he was unable to keep up the endurance, during longer rallies. His rank started dropping too. He lost at The Indian Open in the 2nd round and could not win the Malaysian Open as well.
A great sportsman is one who admits his faults and turns them into his strengths. Praneeth came back stronger and 2015 turned out to be an outstanding year for him. He won the Sri Lanka International and Bangladesh International Tournaments. In the 2016 All England Super Series, he stunned the 2nd seed Lee Chong Wei in the first round.
Rise To Glory
In July 2016, Sai Praneeth got his big break by winning the Canada Open Grand Prix in the men’s singles category by defeating South Korea’s Lee Hyun-il. In April 2017, he won the Singapore Open Super Series by beating Srikanth Kidambi. This made him the fourth Indian to win a Super Series title after Saina Nehwal, P.V.Sindhu and Kidambi. In June 2017, he clinched the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold badminton title by defeating Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie.
At 26 years of age, Sai Praneeth has already bagged the Thailand Open, Canada Open and Singapore Open. He is currently ranked 23 in the world and it is safe to say that he is one of the future stars for India.