Know your athlete: HS Prannoy || Asian Games 2023

Credit: Olympics

With less than 50 days remaining until the start of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, the sport of badminton stands out as one where India will hope to build on the immense strides made in recent years. Over the years, badminton has delivered unforgettable glory, from Prakash Padukone and Pullela Gopichand’s remarkable All England victories – tales I’ve only heard of – to PV Sindhu’s impressive silver medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and her bronze in Tokyo, both of which I can recall point by point. Not to forget the Indian team’s historic victory in the Thomas Cup in 2022, and the recent accomplishments of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, the star doubles pairing, alongside the feats of HS Prannoy, Lakshya Sen, and others.

The badminton squad representing India at the upcoming Asian Games consists of 19 athletes spread across five categories: men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. Over the next few days, in a series of articles, we’ll delve into the performances of our shuttlers over the past few months.

Men’s Singles:

 HS Prannoy

When it comes to men’s singles, the first name that will pop up in everyone’s mind is HS Prannoy. Now, 31,  he is aging like fine wine and has had a fantastic year so far. Currently ranked 9th in the BWF Men’s singles list, Prannoy was runner-up in the recently concluded Australian Open, where he had to accept a close defeat against China’s Weng Hongyang in the final.

Looking back further, Prannoy reached the quarter-finals of the Japan Open, where he lost to Viktor Axelsen, the world No.1, in three games. In the Korea Open, he exited in the round of 16, losing to Lee CY of Hong Kong in three games. In the Taipei Open, Prannoy lost in the quarterfinals to Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Long, who has troubled him on various occasions.

Prannoy reached the semi-finals of the Indonesia Open where, once again, he had to accept defeat to Axelsen, this time in straight games. The Singapore Open ended in the first round itself, against Japan’s Kodai Naraoka. However, the Malaysia Masters has been the highlight of this calendar year for Prannoy. He lifted the title by defeating Weng in the final, having beaten the likes of Kenta Nishimoto on the way to the final. It was the first BWF World Tour title for one of Gopichand’s favourites, and he will surely be one of India’s brightest hopes in Hangzhou.

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