Yet another year is set to pass. 2017 is gearing up to bid a happy goodbye and in the dying moments of the year, we take a look at excellence in India’s badminton circuit.2017 has defined Indian badminton. From being just an occasional topic of discussion and a winter sport to be played at home or in backyards, badminton has become one of the most talked about and one of the most followed sport in the country.From only knowing the name of Saina Nehwal and talking about PV Sindhu’s Rio Olympics silver, 2017 made sporting icons out of Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy.While 2016 was all about the Olympic silver medallist Sindhu and the fact that Saina was undergoing a knee surgery, 2017 gave India many more reasons to talk about badminton.The buzz of the stadium, the constant chants and innumerous people turning up to watch badminton was a spectacle that graced the India Open Super Series early in April in New Delhi. With Sindhu reaching the final and setting up an Olympic re-match with Spain’s Carolina Marin, thousands of people flocked the stadium to watch the final and it was one of a kind for the sport in the country.Amidst home cheers, Sindhu won the India Open but the actual revolution started late in April when not-far-away in Singapore, two male shuttlers Srikanth and B Sai Praneeth set up the first-ever all-Indian final at the Singapore Super Series. Sai Praneeth took the title but the image of both the Indians standing at the podium with the Indian flag around their shoulder gave way to the patriotism in many.advertisement Sai Praneeth then went on to win the Thailand Open as well and for the first time three men’s singles shuttlers from India were in the top 15 of the BWF rankings.What Srikanth went on to do throughout the year after that is a folklore now. Winning the Indonesia Super Series Premier and the Australian Open Super Series back to back in June to lifting the winners’ trophy at Denmark Super Series Premier and French Super Series consecutively in October, Srikanth became the first Indian to win four Super Series titles in a calendar year and henceforth, a household name. Though Srikanth garnered the most fame, even HS Prannoy made his name by breaking into the top 10, winning the US Open Grand Prix, beating the likes of Lee Chong Wei, Chen Long and Lin Dan, being a semi-finalist at French Open where he only lost to eventual winner, Srikanth and then culminating all of that success with winning the Nationals.Even Saina returned from a career-threatening injury to win the Malaysia Masters, World Championships bronze and lastly, she beat Sindhu to winning the National Championship.2017 has given people a different perspective towards the sport of badminton. From treating badminton as an outdoor sport, people now know that badminton is actually played indoors.Till 2016, India knew only two players, Saina Nehwal and Sindhu. Of course, Sindhu’s name rose primarily due to her silver at the Olympics but despite earlier laurels achiever by Srikanth and her, it is only now that people recognise them.A lot of credit of the rising popularity of badminton may also go to the fact that the matches are now being televised. While previously the only time people got to watch the sport was during Commonwealth Games and the Olympics, now all the Super Series events are televised and hence, more people are able to see the matches culminating into generation of interest.When Sindhu lost the one hour 50 minutes marathon against Nozomi Okuhara in the World Championships final, the world stood up and took notice of the quality of the game. Not only did people laud Sindhu for giving it her all but they saw the technicalities of the sport and how much these athletes actually give on the court.A prime example of how the sport has grown in the country and how people have begun recognising the faces of their homegrown stars, is the huge number of people who made it to the stadium in Nagpur to watch the Nationals, where all the big badminton stars of the country played.The amount of success that the Indian badminton players have seen on the international circuit has been a major boost to the sport in India. Not only has the interest grown but the focus on fitness, training and the need for young talent scouting, everything has seen a rise.Badminton has grown from being just an Olympic sport to a sport that is truly and professionally played round the year.advertisementWith all the current Indian stars still in the early years at the international circuit, much is expected from them in the future.In just a gist, 2017 was the beginning of an era, a glimpse into the bigger picture and only an indication that there is much more to come.
poyadjfd November 18, 2019 admin