Shuttling back-and-forth between badminton courts and training sessions, World No. 3 para-badminton star Sukant Kadam has learnt through years of sweating it out as an athlete that comfort is key when it comes to picking the correct athleisure wear.
Fresh from a gold and silver medal win from the Thailand Para-Badminton International 2022, Sukant Kadam has often found clothes playing a big role in his performance on the court.
“For me, athleisure clothes, the ones I wear during matches, are what helps me stay connected to the whole feeling,” Sukant told The Bridge ahead of National Sports Day, in between training sessions for the upcoming Para-Badminton World Championships in November.
“If I am in my badminton clothes, be it in the gym sessions, or otherwise, I feel extra motivated and the intensity of my training also increases,” Sukant continued.
He confessed his love for being in athleisure wear – clothes that can be worn both for playing as well as casually – rather than putting on formals on a regular basis.
“It’s very convenient because for us players, we have to spend time on the court or in sessions and we can’t keep changing – that way athleisure wear helps, it keeps the motivation up also to train and play,” he said.
“I am also someone who loves to train. I can’t stay away from fitness. If I don’t do one hour of fitness daily, my day won’t be complete.”
Rise of Indian badminton
A former World No. 2 in the men’s SL4 para-badminton category, the 29-year-old Pune-based para-shuttler who trains under coach Gaurav Khanna, is very much a part of the rising curve of Indian badminton’s success story.
“India has shown to the world its power and talent in badminton – winning 2 golds from para-badminton at Paralympics, Thomas Cup, the Commonwealth Games. Both para-badminton and able-bodied badminton are doing extremely well but the best is yet to come,” Sukant, a bronze medallist from the 2019 Para-Badminton World Championships said.
“Earlier people would say India is looking for singles domination but that has changed! Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty just won a bronze from the World Championships, this is a new dawn for doubles,” Sukant gushed.
“The main change is that we have a lot of younger athletes now. We have a lot of academies in India – there is at least one good badminton academy in every city. The competition at the national level has become very tough and therefore on the world platform, we are being able to perform so well,” Sukant assessed.
Now looking ahead to the Para-Badminton World Championships, Sukant hopes to upgrade his medal colour from bronze ahead of the Paris Olympics qualifiers next year.
Playing for the country, fetching laurels for the tricolour and seeing it get hoisted high is a thrill that Sukant loves. No other emotion unites people together than sports so universally, he said.
“If any Indian athlete is playing anywhere, all Indians get connected and feel that they are represented through him. Sports is about emotions, be it the joy of wins or the sadness of losses, all of these emotions unite people together,” Sukant said.
With two months to spare before Sukant’s hunt for World Championships glory, a lot of hard work and training will go in between, prepping for the global event.
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