Shuttler Sankar Muthusamy restores faith with medal

Shuttler Sankar Muthusamy took a notable leap on Friday, posting an emphatic win to assure himself a medal at the World Junior Championships in Santander, Spain.

Published: 29th October 2022 08:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th October 2022 08:30 AM   |  A+A-

Sankar Muthusamy entered semifinal of the World Junior Championships in Spain

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  Shuttler Sankar Muthusamy took a notable leap on Friday, posting an emphatic win to assure himself a medal at the World Junior Championships in Santander, Spain. In the process, the former junior World No 1 emulated big names like Saina Nehwal, Lakshya Sen and HS Prannoy, to name a few. For someone who’s 18, this medal-worthy performance could go a long way. However, he had faced a harsh reality just before his trip to the European nation.

The Tamil Nadu shuttler, who’s part of TOPS development scheme, was forced to sit out of the mixed team event at the eleventh hour. This newspaper has learnt that Sankar, who was in the initial squad which was announced in September, and his coach Aravind Swamiappan were informed by badminton authorities that they were no longer part of the team at the last minute. It is learnt Sankar, along with his coach, were removed from the team by the BAI for ignoring its diktat.

It goes without saying that the stringent call had put Sankar’s immediate future in jeopardy. With the clock ticking, he was racing against time to be considered for the individual event. It is learnt that the issue was sorted internally and to Sankar’s big relief, he was given the green signal to take part in the individual event. That decision has proven to be a huge boost with the Indian now just one step away from reaching the final. Saina is the only Indian to have won a gold medal in the competition.

On Friday, Sankar was handed a stiff test by China’s Hu Zhen An. The left-handed shuttler bagged the first game 21-18 but he was made to toil in the second, a game he lost 8-21. But the Chennai boy maintained his composure to recover and pocket the third game and seal the contest. “It was quite tough. In the second game I was not in a good patch initially, so I slowed it down in the second since he was getting tired.

Towards the middle of the third game his tiredness started showing and that was a boost for me. I’m fine for tomorrow’s (Saturday) match. I’m used to training for such long matches as I’m a defensive player, but I’ve also been trying to attack more,” Sankar was quoted as saying to BWF.

Thailand’s Panitchaphon Teeraratsakul is Sankar’s next hurdle. Having almost missed the flight, and having made this far, Sankar will be determined to return with the top prize. That would certainly make a compelling story.


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