Sai Praneeth left no stone unturned to forge himself into a successful badminton player. He is the only 2nd male player in Indian history to clinch a medal at the world badminton championship. Even since he picked up the badminton racquet, the Indian shuttler has been steadily making progress and establishing his name in the sport.
Due to his hard work & dedication towards his career, he became the first Indian male shuttler in 36 years to win a bronze medal at the BWF World Championship in 2019 after Prakash Padukone in 1983. He was also honoured with the Arjuna Award in 2019.
The B.com graduate Sai Praneeth was born and brought up in Hyderabad. His maternal aunt was a national level Badminton player. Glimpsing her Sai’s grandfather enrolled him in badminton. In his earlier days, he used to practice early morning before going to school and later continued his practices in the evening.
Sai says “When I was 15 The National camps had commenced and it was mandatory for me to participate in it so I used to take approval from my college and would only write the exams and play full time.”
When he was young he won under 10,13,16 nationals. That was the time he decided that he should take Badminton as his career. The 1st turning point was when he won the world championship in 2010 and then he reaped some confidence that he can achieve big in seniors and played well.
When he came to seniors, he won some challenge tournaments and played some good matches with top players and came to top 40 in the world by 2013. He was soon sidelined by an injury at the end of 2014. He failed to live up to the expectations due to lack of fitness & subsequent injuries. As pressure mounted, his tactics failed & due to injuries he was unable to keep up the endurance, during longer rallies. His rank started dropping. It was very tough time for him but his circuit action awaited him. He announced his comeback with three tittles.
In 2015 he won his senior national championship and also won 1st grand Prix in 2016 and the biggest breakthrough of his career was winning Singapore opens in 2017. After that his confidence and approach had entirely changed.
“Nothing much changes after success, Life is better than before.The only thing is the expectation. Now people only expect us to win so there is a lot of pressure to perform.”
Sai adds “I had a lot of confidence in me that I can be the best. 2017 was one of the best years for me and in 2018 was not as good as 2017 but 2019 was the best year for me so far as I won bronze in world championship which is the biggest medal for me and also received Arjuna award in 2019 and came to top 10 in the world ranking.”
Sai says “Initially, financially I used to struggle a lot as we had to buy all the equipment & it was expensive at that time & also had to travel on our own expenses, at that point of time it seemed to be very tough to maintain everything but I am very lucky to have my parents and my grandparents who supported me a lot and slowly when I started winning and got prize money, I used that money to buy the equipment and travel.”
While in school, reaching daily practice involved 18-kilometre commute followed by a four-hour train journey but Sai Praneeth was persistent in his quest to succeed.The hard work paid off and before he realized, his impressive displays at U-13 and U-16 tournaments were turning heads, including that of Pullela Gopichand.
The Telgana shutter was, in fact, one of the first few players of the renowned Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad when it was opened in 2008.
Two years of practice under Pullela Gopichand’s tutelage and Sai Praneeth had his career’s first significant achievement, by the time he was 18 he won bronze at the 2010 BWF World Junior Championships in Mexico to announce his arrival on the global stage.
The novel coronavirus has brought life to s standstill across the world. The sporting world too, with tournaments cancelled, seasons suspended and athletes bound by the same rules of isolation. Sai Praneeth joined his fellow shuttlers to contribute for a cause. He donated Rs four lakh to help in fight against rapidly increasing COVID19 pandemic.
SAI PRANEETH'S CAREER’S FIRST SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENT WAS HIS BRONZE MEDAL AT THE 2010 BWF WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
National championship- under -10,13,16,19 & senior
International challenge- 5
Grand Prix gold -1-Thailand open
Grand Prix -Canada open -1
Super series-1 Singapore open - 4th Indian and 2nd men to win a super series
World championship bronze medal 2019 2nd to win and 1st to win after 36 years
Arjuna award -2019
Sportstar best male shuttler of the year -2019
TOISA AWARDS 2019 best male shuttler of the year.