Ajay Jayaram is a highly exciting player. He is one of those Indian players who have been having a decent run in the Super Series tournaments. Ranked 24th in the world, the 25-year-old will play men’s singles with Parupalli Kashyap in the Badminton World Championship at Guangzhou in China from August 5.
“I’m really excited and this will be my second World Championship. I had a good tournament in 2011 in London and I beat Kenchi Tago (Japan) and lost to Chen Jin (China) in a close pre-quarterfinal match,” said Jayaram.
Coached by Tom John, Jayaram is training in Bangalore and is happy with the draw. “It is an okay draw. In the first round, I play Wong Wing Ki (Hong Kong). If I can get past him, it kind of opens up,”’ he said.
China, in a way, has been a happy hunting ground for this aggressive player. He had entered the semi-final of the China Masters two years ago.
“Although I don’t want to give that too much importance, it could be a bonus factor for me. I hope to repeat that performance and probably get a medal this time,” he said.
Jayaram is keen on breaking into top 15 this year. “I think what I need to do is to be more consistent. This year has been good because I have two quarter-finals appearances. If I can maintain that level of consistency, I’m sure it would not be long before I break into top 15,” he added.
Around the same time last year, Jayaram faced one of the biggest setbacks of his career. He was on the verge of qualifying for the London Olympics but the Indian Open in New Delhi turned out to be a nightmare. He failed to qualify and Parupalli Kashyap won his way to London.
“It was a big setback. I was hoping to qualify for London and that did not happen. But as a sportsperson, you have to move on. I reset my goal and kept motivating myself.”
The soft-spoken shuttler said the best way to overcome setbacks is to work harder.
“One has to train harder and if you are hungry, it will not be that difficult to overcome the setbacks,” he said.
According to Jayaram, with the retirement of some senior players in the world, there is a chance for others to excel.
“There may be a couple of them, who are better than the rest. Others are all good at one level. We just have to consolidate our performance in every tournament and play at that level,” he said.
Born in Chennai but brought up in Mumbai, Jayaram trains in Bangalore. A right-handed aggressive player, Jayaram is good at the net and wristy.
In the inaugural IBL, he will play for Hyderabad Hotshots. He was bought for $25,000. “It is the best thing to happen to Indian badminton. It will be a nice feeling to play alongside Saina Nehwal and Taufiq Hidayat.”