Indian shuttlers aim for gold in Youth Olympic Games

New Delhi: Sai Praneeth and HS Prannoy will represent India in the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore and the young shuttlers said they would settle for nothing less than a gold in the inaugural edition of mega-event starting August 13.

Praneet and Prannoy put up brilliant performances at the World Junior Badminton Championships in Mexico, where they won bronze medals in April, to earn a berth in the Youth Olympic Games and the duo is now sweating it out at the Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad to realise their dream.

"I am really focusing on the Youth Olympic Games and I would like to return with a gold for India," Praneeth, who won two golds in singles and doubles in Fajr International Challenge International in February, told reporters.

"I`m training hard. My speed and strength have improved and getting better with each day," he added.

Praneeth started his career as a singles player before turning to men`s doubles but after the bronze in World Championships, he switched back to singles.

"Basically I started off as a singles player but I got selected in doubles, so I started concentrating on doubles. I am a good doubles player also but after the Junior World Championships Gopi sir told me to concentrate on singles as it is too difficult to focus on both at the same time," he said.

Another young blood, Prannoy, who will carry India`s flag is also aiming for the gold but reckons that it would be far from easy.

"It would be very tough to win a medal with the Chinese and Malaysian players around but I believe that I have the capability to win a gold," said Prannoy, who beat top seed Ajay Jayaram in All India Senior major ranking tournament in Bangalore last month.

"I have been training hard and my fitness has improved very much. Even six months back, it was difficult to complete a three-game match and then again play in the evening on the same day but now I am very confident of my stamina.”

"I am also working on my strokes and my defence is a little weak. Otherwise my attack is one of the best, I am confident about it," said Prannoy, who hails from Kerala but trains at the Gopichand Academy.

Among others, young prodigy PV Sindhu had also earned herself a qualification by finishing fifth in the World Juniors but she won`t be participating in the event as she is just 14 years.


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