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Indian badminton in 2017: Male shuttlers' upswing via Goipichand's guidance

The Indians proved their mettle in international competitions, putting up confident and tough fights while facing the best of world.

Written by: Akash Khanna, New Delhi [ Published on: December 27, 2017 19:33 IST ]
Image Source : PTI A file image of Kidambi Srikanth.

Having received Dronacharya Award in 2009, India's chief national coach for badminton – Pullela Gopichand redefined the role of a tutor in 2017 as he guided the male shuttlers to their career-best rankings and helped them gain confidence in front of world's top-guns.

Although Goipichand's stint as a coach has been successful earlier as well when he propelled women talents Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu to emphatic victories, the recent rise of male shuttlers such as Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy brought him back in the limelight.

Rankings delight

The year 2017 has been stellar for the Indian badminton as both a male and a female shuttler from the nation entered the top-five of Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings. Concluding the illustrious year on a high, Srikanth and Sindhu ranked third in their respective BWF rankings' charts.

In top-10 of men's and women's rankings, Prannoy and Nehwal also got their names placed 10th in respective categories.

Other male shuttlers from the country – B Sai Praneeth, Sameer Verma and Ajay Jayaram also improved their rankings in 2017, having placed 16th, 30th and 38th in men's singles rankings.

A strong impression on the world map

The Indians proved their mettle well in international competitions, putting up confident and tough fights while facing the best of world. The Singapore Open, won by Praneeth, shocked the world's shuttle pundits as it witnessed an all-India male finish with Srikanth concluding as runner-up.

Following the Singapore Open, Praneeth clinched the Thailand Open in June.

The Indonesian Open this year saw an enchanted rise of Prannoy, who defeated Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei and gold medallist Chen Long to finish third in the tournament. Srikanth outclassed Japanese shuttler Kazumasa Sakai to win the title in Indonesia.

Srikanth gained momentum in June and registered a consecutive title win at Australian Open Super Series.

Following the victory course, three male shuttlers from India entered top 15 of the BWF rankings to script history.

In October, Srikanth won Denmark Super Series Premier and French Super Series to become first Indian shuttler to claim four Super Series titles in a calendar year. Prannoy too joined in the celebration after he claimed the title at US Open and National Championship.

Sindhu avenges Rio defeat and Saina's win over injury

In women's singles, India's leading ladies of the badminton sport – PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal – managed their star status, entertaining their fans with thrilling performances.

Sindhu avenged her 2016 Rio Olympics final defeat to Carolina Marin, defeating the Spanish shuttler in front of overwhelming home crowd at India Open Super Series.

Nehwal returned from a career-threatening injury and managed to remain among top ten shuttlers in 2017. Cherry on the cake for the Hyderabadi shuttler was beating Sindhu to win the National Championship.

Watching the fairy-tale conclusion of Indian badminton in 2017, fans expect more from the badminton stars and we may expect a rise in the following of the sport in 2018. 

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