National badminton coach Pullela Gopichand (second from left) poses with Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (right), H. S. Prannoy (second from right) and Rohan Kapoor (left) at his academy in Hyderabad on Wednesday.
Hyderabad: After winning India’s first-ever badminton doubles gold medal at the Asian Games Satwiksairaj Rankireddy revealed the reason behind his success. Ending a 61-year-old wait for badminton gold Satwiksairaj and Chirag Shetty finished on top of the podium.
The 23-year-old Satwik credited national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand for the stint and expressed gratitude towards the latter for the motivation and trust he bestows upon him. "I am delighted with the Asiad gold and the last two weeks are very wonderful for all of us. I came from Amalapuram (a town in Andhra Pradesh) and started training in Hyderabad as any other player. But making history is not a job done in a day. All these happened due to the efforts of Gopi sir (Gopichand)," Satwik told Deccan Chronicle.
"Winning Asian Games gold is one of our dreams but we (Satwik-Chirag) don’t have time to celebrate. We have an ultimate goal to achieve. Once we succeed then I will dance with my whole heart," said Satwik about his celebrations.
Satwik wants to win more tournaments instead of being World No. 1 pair. "I haven’t thought about ranking. But I feel good about being World No.1 but, it doesn’t matter until you win big tournaments. I believe that ranking is an indicator of consistency. It is a boost for us and adds extra pressure," said Satwik when asked about the feeling of being World No. 1 pair.
Satwik said that sometimes losing also happens for the best and also believes a positive mind always keeps him strong. "Asian Games gave us an experience of handling pressure. We are coping with pressure in top tournaments. We lost to the Malaysian world champion duo of Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik by a close margin in the Sudirman Cup. I didn’t feel any disappointment, because I have played against them and suffered defeats previously. After the Sudirman clash I found solutions to tackle them. That helped me beat Koreans and Malaysians in the final and semifinals of Asian Games," said Satwik.
For Satwik and Chirag playing for India is the first priority and then their personal choices. "I chose playing doubles because it is the only category we can play as a team. That’s why I used to play doubles and mixed doubles in the Sudirman Cup. When Chirag and I paired up I came to know his aim was also the same as mine. We don’t have any individual mindset. The only aim we have is that we want to keep India on top. For us our country is first then the rest," said Satwik.
He thanked the support staff and physio for keeping them sound enough to play. "After the winning team silver everyone was disappointed. But, our teammates backed up and inspired us. Then we decided that we will return home with gold only. Things were not going well in the team, especially my partner suffering from fever when he was playing an individual event. I only hoped that at least Chirag could stand on the court for our doubles match. But the next day he returned to the court and he played really well. The rest everyone knows," Satwik smiled.