Either side of the Covid bout though Rankireddy ensures that he is regularly trained to maintain levels of resilience. That was on display during the opening of two Thailand – where the Indian campaign ended on Saturday.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy has spent most of 2020 playing PUBG. Shuttler’s excessive concern for mobile video game has increased its note when tested for Covid-19 mid-year. With little to do at home in Amalapuram, Andhra Pradesh, it was a game that kept the 20-year-old boy working for a month separated from the virus.
Either side of the Covid bout though Rankireddy ensures that he is regularly trained to maintain levels of resilience. That was on display during the opening of two Thailand – where the Indian campaign ended on Saturday. His impressive bout hit him in the semi-finals of not only men and Chirag Shetty, but also in the doubles combined, with Ashwini Ponnappa. “Ek hi cheez (smash) to aata hai, aur kuch aata hi nahi (the only thing I can do well),” laughed Rankireddy, after losing both of their last four games in Bangkok on Saturday.
The two may have lost in semis but not before giving India a double hope. In addition to practicing the game, Covid bout, and two months of training together, Shetty / Rankireddy and Ponnappa / Rankireddy played and beat several top-level opponents to reach the semis of the Super 1000 event for the first time.
The Super 1000 is the highest category on the BWF World Tour – ranked under the Majors only such as the Olympics and world championships – including the prestigious All England, China Open and the prestigious Indonesia Open. Events have been rescheduled this year due to Covid-19 restrictions.
“As it is our first Super 1000 (semis), we are very excited,” said Shetty from the airport before taking off her Bangkok-Dubai-Hyderabad flight. Shetty and Rankireddy lost 18-21, 18-21 to Malaysian eighth seed Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik in 35 minutes at Impact Arena. Shetty also said that they may not have played at the same level when they won the tournament in 2019 but it is still 80 percent. They should note that it was probably the only country that did not play any domestic tournament. He was also saddened by the loss but it is definitely said that it was an encouraging start for them.
Rankireddy said attending the tournament unexpectedly helped bring results that would boost their confidence when the Olympic title resumes in March.
Rankireddy said that they did not feel confident in the first week. But said that during this week he just came in thinking of playing well and not worrying about the results, after he and Ponnappa lost 20-22, 21-18, 12-21 in 59 minutes to Thai top seed Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai.
B Sai Praneeth, who was tested for Covid-19 and had to withdraw from the tournament, has been tested twice negative and is taking a flight back to India with Shetty.