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Making his parents proud

Principal Correspondent

- PHOTO: S. Mahinsha

Sports Minister M. Vijayakumar congratulates H.S. Prannoy's father Sunil Kumar and mother Haseena after Prannoy had won a silver in Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It wasn't exactly the perfect Onam gift which Sunil Kumar had hoped for. Nevertheless, his son H.S. Prannoy's silver medal in Youth Olympics in Singapore was a momentous achievement and he is a proud father.

“I am not at all disappointed. Winning the silver medal itself is a huge achievement. But today was not his day. He made far too many errors at the net. He is basically a rhythm player and early mistakes in both sets cost him dear,” said Sunil Kumar soon after his son lost to Thailand's Poodchalat Pisit in the badminton final.

“He had spoken to me yesterday over phone. He was confident of beating his rival. Today it wasn't nervousness which cost him dear but he could have avoided a few early mistakes,” Sunil said.

Dream run

It was a dream run for H.S. Prannoy in the Youth Olympics during which he upset the top seed Kang Ji Wook in the semifinal. But Thailand's Poodchalat Pisit broke the hearts of an entire nation when he scored a straight-set win in the final.

It is H.S. Prannoy second individual medal in international competitions since winning a bronze medal in Junior World Badminton championships early this year.

Sunil Kumar himself a badminton player could never make it big and Prannoy is living his father's dream. Prannoy, who got hooked on to the game while watching his father play, looked comfortable the moment he picked up the racket.

After learning the basics from Kerala Sports Council coach, Prannoy showed promise and a matured game beyond his young age.

Coaches impressed

Coaches who have worked with him have been impressed with his work ethic. “He is hard working and sincere. He hardly has any other distractions and is modest to core,” said Rakesh Shekar the TDBA secretary, who has closely watched Prannoy since his formative years.

In fact, TDBA recognised his talent quite early and then TDBA secretary the late Rajasekharan made arrangements for Prannoy and father to practise at SMC courts regularly with no bar on timings. A facility which Prannoy made full use of till he joined Gopi Chand's Academy last year.

Prannoy's forte has been supple body and powerful game. “He is one of the best movers on court and covers it excellently,” says Rakesh Shekar. But soon after finishing second in junior nationals, Prannoy joined Gopichand's academy where he fine-tuned his game and added more shots to his repertoire. Sparring with stronger players at the academy also increased his confidence level and progress was there for all to see.

Prannoy finished third in the world junior championship and now with the silver medal finish in Youth Olympics proved that his world championship performance wasn't a fluke.

With accolades pouring in, Sunil Kumar has been busy answering calls on his mobile. He is happy for his son's achievement and it will be an Onam to remember for Sunil Kumar and his family.

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