Lesser known opponents a threat: Prannoy

Lesser known opponents a threat: Prannoy

Lesser known opponents a threat: Prannoy

HS Prannoy is not worried about familiar foes such as three-time Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei and says it is the surprise element of the unheralded shutters which could pose a bigger threat to his medal aspirations at next month's Commonwealth Games.

Set to make his CWG debut, Prannoy said he is in good shape but would not take any player lightly, especially the lesser-known ones.

"There are many players such as Rajiv Ouseph and Lee Chong Wei who have played in the past at CWG. But it is the others who we should be wary of. There are others who are actually good and can trouble you on certain days because you don't know how they play," Prannoy told PTI.

Last season, Prannoy made the transition from a rare talent to an emerging star when he outclassed two stalwarts -- former world no 1 Chong Wei and Olympic gold medallist and two-time world champion Chen Long of China -- in successive days to reach the semifinals at Indonesia Super Series.

Prannoy clinched the US Open Grand Prix Gold, before dispatching Chong Wei again at the Denmark Open, putting to rest all doubts about his prowess.

Despite being laid low by foot warts, Prannoy showed tremendous grit as he recovered quickly and dished out some sensational performances at the All England Championship last week, to reach his maiden quarterfinals.

"I didn't give much thought before the All England because I had started training after recovering from foot corns just a couple of weeks before the tournament," he said.

"But CWG should be good. I'm very happy to be in the CWG team. I have a good time to prepare. In the next few days, I will put in more effort in training and be in better shape. I am looking for good six days of badminton."

The first spark in Prannoy was seen by his father, a former All India Air Force champion and a self-taught coach, who taught his son the initial tricks of the trade.

From a promising youngster winning a silver medal at the 2010 Youth Olympics, Prannoy is now one of the most dependable shuttlers, ranked 12th in the world and second only to world no 2 Srikanth in India.

The 25-year-old from Kerala was in good form in the PBL 2018 but then developed foot warts, which saw him completely skip events at Malaysia and Indonesia and only turn up for appearance's sake at India Open.

"It's not easy to recover from injuries, train and reach top 20. I am happy the way I come back after each injury and I might not have won a super series tournament but I always believe something big will happen," Prannoy said.

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