PUNE: Mumbai boy Chirag Shetty is suddenly in the midst of growing demand from sports administrators and politicians alike, after Indian badminton soared to new heights at the just concluded Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.
But this double specialist, who plays attacking badminton from forecourt, has his target in sight and after winning the historic silver medal in Gold Coast besides the mixed team gold, Chirag aims to focus on the tight schedule ahead before the Asian Games comes along in August.
“Till the Asian Games there are a lot of tournaments. Almost 6-7 BWF events are lined up, apart from the World Championship,” is how Chirag explained the packed schedule he intends to cross over in the next three months.
“All these tournaments will be part of our preparations for the Asian Games,” Chirag said as a matter of fact about his preparations with his doubles partner, Satwik Rankireddy.
“Before we head to Jakarta the schedule is pretty packed and I know Asian Games will be much tougher than the Commonwealth Games,” Chirag told Sakal Times in an interview on Friday.
The latest badminton star was in Pune to launch the World School Badminton Championship at the Balewadi Sports Complex.
Chirag and Satwik have almost sealed their berth for Asian Games as top two pairs from a country get direct entry into the Games’ programme and given the way they have played so far there is no other pair that comes close to them.
Their game compliment each others’ style even though both are attacking players.
“Both of us are attacking players, but he plays in back court and I am good at forecourt play and our target is to be World No 15 in the yearend rankings,” said Chirag.
“When we started doing well, all the pieces fell into places. India was lacking in doubles pairs and the Premier Badminton League got some of the best doubles players from around the world to play here and that helped us to learn a lot,” is how Chirag explained his progress.
“When they got players from Korea to play here it really helped me. Former Olympic champion Lee Young Dae was here and he advised me a lot and brought a lot of changes in my game. He suggested a few minor changes in my style and that paid rich dividends,” said Chirag.
Dae saw that I was good in creating openings because I have good reflexes and quick at catching high shuttle. The PBL was a learning and I am thankful to the Badminton Association of India to bring along the world’s best players to play in India,” said Chirag.
Asked what he expects from Jakarta Asian Games, Chirag said it would be difficult to make speculations now.
“On that given day if we give 100 percent and play well then anything can happen because unlike in tennis partners in badminton are very important. Here we play long rallies and the doubles specialization very important,” said Chirag of being a badminton player and how difficult it is to change partners.
- Chirag Shetty and Satwik Rankireddy claimed India’s first ever medal in men’s doubles after settling for a silver at the 21st Commonwealth Games’ badminton competition in Gold Coast last Sunday.
- Satwik and Chirag lost 13-21, 16-21 to Rio Olympics bronze medallists English pair of Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge in the men’s doubles final.
- At 20 and 17 respectively, Chirag and Satwik came to the forefront following their title win at Tata Open India in 2016.