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Injury-ridden HS Prannoy remains hopeful of big win

A fair amount of his time has been lost to injuries but an unruffled Indian shuttler H S Prannoy says he knows how to bounce back and can already sense that something big is around the corner for him.

Ever since bursting on to the scene with a silver medal at the 2010 Youth Olympics, Prannoy has been often left on the sidelines due to injuries, affecting his training and thereby his progress.

He suffered a knee injury in 2011 just before the nationals, then again in 2012 which was followed by a back injury in 2012 which took more than half a year to heal. He reached the finals at the Tata Open the next year.

A series of semifinals at Bitburger, Syed Modi International, Macau and a final at Vietnam was followed by a maiden Grand Prix Gold win at Indonesia in 2014.

Another injury-marred year followed but he still managed to reach a career-best world ranking of 12. He recovered to win the 2016 Swiss Open but again sustained a toe injury at the Singapore Open and subsequently missed the Thomas Cup.

He was in rampaging form at the Premier Badminton League this year but injuries to his knee and toe once again came back to haunt him.

Asked if he is playing the best badminton of his career now, Prannoy said: “Best I am not sure, I believe I have a lot of capability and I can play at a much better level. Of course there have been restrictions on me since I had a lot of injuries. So I can’t do some specific training due to those injuries.”

Prannoy had to face criticism for not being consistent and one renowned coach even went on to say that “he will never be able to play singles as he was slow and he should shift to doubles”.

“People may criticise saying that I have such a good game but I’ve not been able to be consistent. I feel they need to understand that there are so many injuries that we suffer which they don’t know about and each time to come back, train and reach top 20 is not easy,” he said.

“Sometimes, you get demotivated as to why so many injuries are happening but that is how it is, some have a lot of injuries and some have less. Look at Sameer, he too had a lot of injuries and he would have been a much better player. Injuries take away a lot of time,” he added.

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