An interview with Parupalli Kashyap
Making his comeback at the China Open in April last year, Parupalli Kashyap, the first Indian to qualify for the Quarterfinals in the London Olympics, started training young.The shuttler started playing when he was 11 and has been in love with the sport ever since. The former 6th World ranked player suffered a knee injury that stopped him from participating in the Olympics. Since the injury, life has been hard for this sportsperson, as he took a year to recover and regain the confidence he lost. The 31-year-old from Hyderabad has now come back strong and is ready to defend his title. In an interview, he talks about his journey so far.
2016 wasn’t a great one for you given the knee injury and the break you had to take. Did you spend time watching some television?
Initially, the injury was a major setback because I had to miss the Rio Olympics, but the break actually gave me a new perspective and I have learned a lot about my mind and body. I think I am now ready to win and get back at my dreams. I did start watching a lot of TV since the injury and now I am up to date with all the series like Game of Thrones, Suits, Breaking Bad , Narcos and Friends. I guess I can never get over the fact that the series ended.
Are you someone who loves video games? As a child did you own a Nintendo?
As a kid, I never pla-yed much video ga-mes or PlayStation. I used to have a Nintendo long back, where you could just put cassettes and play Mario and few other games. I still remember the tune of Mario, it’s so nostalgic. A few days back, Guru and Saina posted on Instagram a video of us playing Mortal Kombat on the PS4 and that was amazing. We were all fighting with each other. That was fun!
We’ve heard some rumours about you dating Saina Nehwal?
These rumours came long back in 2010 and they weren’t true. Saina and I are very good friends. We have known each other for a very long time.
As a kid, how were you so certain about badminton as your profession?
I started training when I was 11 and I loved playing. And at one point, I realised that wasn’t much of a multi-tasker and I had to focus on one thing. I had to pick either studying or playing. I loved playing so I knew that I wanted to excel at the sport and I couldn’t walk away from badminton. And I knew national champions who were good engineers as well. But I knew I didn’t want that, I wanted to concentrate on badminton.
Any major challenges during training?
I was an asthmatic, so when I was training hard, my body wasn’t getting stronger or fitter. Most of my colleagues who were getting the same training were getting better results. I had to take medication which helped me get better and made me physically stronger.
Now my dreams have become more personal, stronger. I am clear on what I want to achieve and I want to be a part of the Olympics, win and defend my title. I do have the Commonwealth Championship medal, but now I want to take it up a notch higher, and the drive doesn't let me sleep.
What is the relationship you share with your coach?
Pullela Gopichand is a big brother to me, I call him Gopi anna. I knew him before he started coaching, at the end of his career. We have had our moments, but he’s always been very supportive. I’ve always needed his inputs because of his experience and even has gone through injuries during his career. I want to give him better results and make him proud again.
The above is an excerpt from a conversation between Parupalli Kashyap and Lamhein host Chaitanya Bharat.