Parupalli Kashyap Aims to Shine in World Badminton Championships
Parupalli Kashyap shocked world no. 1 Chen Long of China in the quarter-finals of the Indonesia Open in Jakarta after fighting back from a game down, before losing in three games in the semis to Japan's Kento Momota which he feels was, partly, because of lack of fitness.
London Olympic Games quarter-finalist Parupalli Kashyap wants to train hard for seven weeks and be at the peak of his game and fitness ahead of the August 10-16 World Badminton Championships in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Kashyap shocked world no. 1 Chen Long of China in the quarter-finals of the Indonesia Open in Jakarta after fighting back from a game down, before losing in three games in the semis to Japan's Kento Momota which he feels was, partly, because of lack of fitness.
"It (win over Chen) gave me a lot of confidence. I know all the top ten players have different styles of play. In particular situations you should know how to pull ahead and finish the match which I felt I was lacking, especially against Kento Momota of Japan in the semi-finals.
"I thought I had a good enough lead at 10-6 to finish it off in the second game itself. I just felt I did not put enough pressure on him at that time.
"In those kinds of areas a little bit more fitness is required. My fitness was not good enough to pull away from him. There's just a percentage difference between all players in top ten. If you drop that percentage you are equal to even the 30th ranked player," said the 28-year-old from Hyderabad here today.
"You need to maintain yourself at a very high level and that's what I would be looking forward to in these seven weeks before the World Championships. I will be consistent in training every day as I need to be at the top-most level of my game. Training is very important for me."
Kashyap said the win over Chen was a huge confidence boost for him, especially after a big loss to the Chinese star in Malaysia.
"For a couple of months I rated (Chen) even ahead of Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia) and (Olympic champion) Lin Dan because his performance was very good. The previous time I played him in Malaysia, I had lost badly and going into the match I wanted to do well," said the shuttler on the sidelines of an event organised by his supporter - Olympic Gold Quest -a non-profit organisation that supports Indian athletes.
The victory over Chen, a rarity for an Indian male shuttler over a world no. 1, was a big shot in the arm, said Kashyap.
"I was playing well but did not expect to beat him. During the match I gained in confidence, especially in the middle of the second game after losing the first. After the match I felt if I am playing well I should be able to beat anyone because I rated Chen Long two steps above everyone in the top ten."
Kashyap, ranked tenth in the world, said he had always dreamt of becoming a world champion one day.
"I would love to win a medal (in the World Championships). It was one of my dreams when I started playing. I did not know about the Olympics, but wanted to become a World Champion."
The ace Indian shuttler, who lost from winning positions in two events recently, said he is working on how to overcome the errors.
"I can fine tune a couple of points. In Australia and Indonesia (Super Series Premier event) I lost two matches in similar ways. In Australia I was up a match point in third set (against sixth seed Wang Zhenglong) and in Indonesia also I was up 19-16 in the third set (before losing to eventual champion Momota).
"I made a couple of mistakes and am trying to work on them. I probably could have relaxed a bit instead of getting carried away by the situation, especially in Indonesia where I thought I was playing better than everyone in the tournament. I just need to check those things," said Kashyap. The Hyderabadi athlete insisted that without showing some sort of consistency he and compatriot K Srikkanth cannot be in the top ten in the world.
"Consistency is coming. Without consistency Srikkanth will not be ranked no 4 and i won't be ranked no. 10. We are reaching the quarter finals and semifinals but we have to start winning tournaments.
"I am focusing on pulling out these things and win. The Chen Long match happened to be the quarter final, it could have been the final too. I need to be at the peak of my physical fitness in the seven days of the tournament (World Championships) and that's my main focus now." Kashyap felt the huge break the shuttlers are enjoying after the Indonesia Open would make it tougher at the Jakarta event.
"After the Indonesian Open all players have got two months to prepare for the World Championships. It's going to be a very tough event. But I feel confident and hope I can get a good result.
Kashyap, who started training two days ago, will have a mental trainer to help him in a few weeks' time. "OGQ is helping me out in finding a mental trainer. I have seven weeks' time for the World Championships and in a couple of weeks' time I will be meeting a mental trainer." Looking ahead to next year's Rio Olympic Games, Kashyap is targeting the Super Series events, in particular the year-ending Super Series finals in Dubai, to gain valuable points and maintain or improve his world ranking.
"After the World Cup the schedule is very hectic as you have a tournament every two weeks. I want to play in all Super Series events until December, which count for the Super Series finals in which only the top 8 performers from Super Series rankings will qualify.
"That's a major event as it has the highest ranking points also. If you enter it, you are assured of quarter final ranking points. That is the event I am looking forward to. But for that I have to play Super Series events," said Kashyap.
"I reached the semis of Indonesian Open. I then skipped the Chinese Taipei tournament. If I do well in an event I will have the luxury of thinking about (skipping) the next event."
Kashyap said that he missed the presence of world no. 2 woman shuttler Saina Nehwal at the Gopichand Academy where he trains with all the top Indian shuttlers after she shifted base to Bengaluru to train with Vimal Kumar at the Prakash Padukone Academy.
"Personally, I always got motivated looking at Saina although I am senior to her. Her achievements speak for themselves. She is very motivating. I certainly miss her presence in the academy and I am sure others also miss her at the academy. She inspires all youngsters and motivates me too."