CHENNAI: Driven with hunger to succeed and to make a name for themselves, there are countless youthful faces in the ongoing BAI series senior tournament in Chennai. In the absence of marquee names, the event is largely dominated by teenagers, many of whom are getting their first taste of action at this level. But there's one player who stands out. Subhankar Dey has been through this exercise countless times. Heck, he can also boast about beating Lin Dan — considered to be the GOAT.
So what is Subhankar doing here? Like the youngsters, he's looking to get some matches under his belt ahead of bigger challenges next year. Given the fact that he has not played at this level for quite some time, he lacks ranking points and hence he begun his campaign at the Smashbounce Academy on Friday with three matches (one doubles tie) in the qualification stages. He's happy to start from the bottom and is determined to go as far as possible.
"It's always good to play these tournaments because the level is quite good, especially in the main draw. Even in the qualification rounds towards the death, the players are quite decent. I'm playing at this level after three, four years. It's good to be back. I have prepared in the same manner as I would prepare for international events. Every match I enter, I try to give my 100 per cent. It'll be the same here," the 28-year-old says.
The four-time BWF International Challenge/Series winner wants to keep up his training and has eyes set on January, a month that will feature three international tournaments. "I have been training all the time and I don't want to break the same as big tournaments are coming soon. My next tournament will be Delhi Open (BWF Super 500) and Syed Modi (Super 300) and also Odisha Open (Super 100) if it goes as per plan. Those are the tournaments I'm looking forward to," the World No 51, who resides in Mumbai, says.
Even though he has been in the senior circuit for a fair amount of time, taking down some marquee players in the process, Subhankar has not quite found the consistency, something that could take him to another level. But he's not perturbed by that trend and feels his dedication and hard work will eventually pay off.
"I have beaten some elite players in the past so I don't see myself as an underdog. I feel I'm at the top... I just need to get some rhythm and win one or two tournaments. It's just a matter of time, I just need to keep working hard and my time will come."
He's also one elite active player who has an academy in his name — Subhankar Dey Badminton Academy. With an urge to pass on what he has learnt over the years to youngsters, he had begun the project and he's pleased with the state of affairs. "We had some district tournaments recently. Six or seven players from my academy won the tournament. It's not easy to win that event in Maharashtra because there are lot of competitions. Starting from U-13 till seniors, all the players are making good progress under an Indonesian coach," he signs off.