Now my name will never get erased from history: Arvind

Now my name will never get erased from history: Arvind

He rolled back the years to clinch a major international title at 34 and Indian shuttler Arvind Bhat is satisfied that he could etch his name in badminton history following a taxing week that has taken a toll on his body and mind.

Two-time former national champion, Arvind became only the second Indian after K Srikanth to win a Grand Prix Gold outside India when he outclassed Hans-Kristian Vittinghus of Denmark in an epic final to win the German Open at Mulheim an der Ruhr on Sunday.

"It was unbelievable feeling. I never expected to win this event. My target was to win at least one big title in my career. Although I had this age thing in my mind but I always felt I can do it somehow. Frankly, I was think it will happen some day but I never ever thought even while playing the event that I will win the title," Arvind told PTI.

"I had a back injury early February when I was in Kolkata for my son's rice ceremony just before the All India ranking tournament in Bangalore. I still went ahead and played the event and lost to a 16-year-old Siril Varma. And so to go on to win the title is huge, it is a dream come true."

Arvind said initially he was not sure of playing in the German Open and it was his German league club manager Hans Werner Niesner, who convinced him to play in the USD 120,000 Grand Prix Gold event.

"After my back injury in Kolkata, I had decided to stay back and relax and skip playing in German Open but once I played in the Bangalore tournament and my injury didn't aggravate, my physio told me that my back will be fine and I can go and play in the German Open," Arvind said.

"Before the German Open I had to play a two-day German league match. As I was the main player, they were waiting for me. So my club manager Niesner forced me to come and play in the league and German Open and I went there with a chance and see what happened," he added.

The 34-year-old from Bangalore said it was as tough mentally as it was physically, to sustain the rigours of the six-day tournament.

"Physically it was really tough but I was feeling fit. I was raring to go, I was feeling fresh despite not having an ideal preparation. More challenging was the mental part. I was tested completely," he said.

"The beginning part of the event, I had a care-a-damn attitude. Whatever points I got, I was okay. But after quarters I started feeling the pressure because after that it was the mental toughness which was more important. It was important to stay cool," Arvind said."For me, the second match against Hun Yu of Hong Kong was physically more challenging but it was the semifinals and finals which tested me more mentally," he added.

Asked if it would instill new lease of life to his career, Arvind said: "I would say it will give a boost to my image. I have always been a good player and a national champion but there was always this void that I didn't win a big tournament like (Pullela) Gopichand or (Prakash) Padukone did. Eventually when you retire you want to be called a big tournament winner. A big win was missing from my resume."

"For career, I think I still have 3-4 years more. I will still reach a few quarters in the tournaments I play but will I win another tournament or not, may be may be not. But I have already won one. My name will never get erased from history. It has come late in my career but it is very satisfying," he said.

Asked about his future targets, Arvind said: "My targets were very simple for last 2-3 years. I was not performing well so I thought let me just train hard and see what happens and it will be the same even now. I don't want to suddenly put pressure on myself and say that I will win a super series or a medal in Olympics or Commonwealth Games. I just want to work hard and take one tournament at a time.

"The next tournament for me is India Super Series. I will be training for that, I'm not looking beyond that. There is a sort of chance to get into the Commonwealth Games squad but I don't want to speculate. I will make some qualitative changes, work smart but won't bring any drastic changes."

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