Arvind sets himself up to clear Yu hurdle

Arvind sets himself up to clear Yu hurdle

Badminton World Meet

Arvind sets himself up to clear Yu hurdle

GEARING UP: Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei during a practice session in Hyderabad on Saturday. AP

Arvind Bhat broke a personal barrier when he won badminton’s National Championship this year, and now he has set himself up for clearing another roadblock in the World Championships, starting here on Monday.

In the big event, Bhat is drawn to play Chinese-Taipei ninth seed Yu Hsing Hsieh, who has beaten him in both their head-to-heads thus far. This time around, the 30-year-old mechanical engineer from Bangalore wants to pull one back using all his experience.
“I am giving myself a fifty-fifty chance against Hsieh,” Bhat said. “Twice I drew him close, but lost because of errors at crucial stages. I know his game pretty well. I will not be repeating those mistakes. Also I will have the home advantage, so I am backing myself to clear the first hurdle.”

Bhat said he had been through a tough training schedule at the Tata-Padukone Badminton Academy, which was also his nursery.

“I am mentally and physically well prepared for the World Championships. We went through rigorous training at the academy. I have worked on various aspects of the game and am ready for the challenge.”

Bhat did not have an impressive run on the Asian circuit this year, but he is drawing inspiration from the close encounters he had, specially against Chinese players.

He stretched the then world number one Lin Dan to three games at the Swiss Open in March.

“The results may not have gone my way, but I am happy with my form. The match against Lin was certainly the high point. I also competed well against other Chinese players and hopefully the experiences will count here,” he said.

The world number 24, with his sound technique, surely has the mettle to be in a far better position than his current ranking, but inconsistency coupled with injuries have resulted in a fluctuation of his fortunes. Mentally, too, he was not up to it this year.

Bhat will have to look within to find an answer. He can take inspiration from his victory in the nationals this year at Indore as he won the title after losing three finals spread over a span of seven years. It’s time for him to beat the demons within. Meanwhile, World No 15 Chetan and his shuttler wife Jwala Gutta signed a two-year sponsorship deal with Li Ning, a leading Chinese sports brand enterprises.

Asked about his expectations, Chetan said, “I am not thinking too much about the title but to put the best effort in the tournament. I just want to concentrate on my first round, which I am playing against a Korean.”Anand, who is opening his campaign against Ji Hoon Hong of Korea, said, “It won’t be an easy match. But I’m ready for it and I should be doing well.”

The three-time national champion, who recently won the Tata Open in Mumbai, said he has performed well before the home crowd and hoped to continue the good performance.

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