Young Indian shuttler Priyanshu Rajawat has his eyes set on the pinnacle tournament of badminton, the BWF World Championships.
He is 21, and he left behind a good year in 2023 when he claimed his maiden BWF World Tour at the Orleans Masters and produced several results of remarkable brilliance.
Being young and strong on desires, Priyanshu is determined to break a deadlock in Indian badminton.
“I want to end that world championship title drought of men’s singles category and my aim is to become the first-ever world champion from India in this category,” Priyanshu told The Bridge on the sidelines of India Open.
The shuttler from Madhya Pradesh has made a rapid rise in the BWF World Tour in the last year and a half.
Reflecting on his rise, Priyanshu said, “I started playing badminton when I was just five following the footsteps of my brother. I learnt the sport watching him play as I went to the academy he used to train often. But my first love was football, but there wasn’t any good academies in my locality and some of them refused to gave me an admission because I was too young for the sport.”
As his football career never took off, he opted for badminton.
“I started playing badminton and when I won the state championship, I gave trials to take admissions in the Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad. It is going smoothly, and I have been training in Hyderabad for 13 years now,” he added.
Experience of winning Thomas Cup
Priyanshu joined the senior ranks in 2022 when he was called for India’s successful Thomas Cup campaign.
He won a match on his debut at the prestigious men’s World Cup as he claimed a three-game win over Victor Lai of Canada.
Sharing his experience of being part of the Indian team, Priyanshu said, “No one expected us to win the Thomas Cup, but the team spirit was what pushed us beyond the boundary as every person was helping each other.”
“It has now been two years since that win and we are again going to take part in the Thomas Cup this year, so preparations are going on so we can defend it. The moment was extra special for me as all the senior players pushed me forward to lift the first-ever Thomas Cup trophy for India,” added the shuttler.
Capitalising on his experience of playing Thomas Cup, Priyanshu claimed his first BWF World Tour title at the Orleans Masters in 2023 after upsetting the experienced Japanese player Kenta Nishimoto. Later, he came close to beating Olympic medalist Anthony Sinusuka Ginting of Indonesia at the Indonesia Open Super 1000.
‘Want to qualify for Olympics’
Priyanshu was in contention for a Paris Olympic quota spot, but later in the year, he fell back after missing tournaments due to injury concerns. He explained how injuries hampered his progress, but as he recovered from the injury, Priyanshu wants to continue pushing for results.
“That back injury kept aggregating in every tournament I played so I had to pull out of two consecutive tournaments. Hence, I decided to take a break in December and to return only after gaining full fitness as it was no use to play and lose in the first round. Now, I am back to full fitness and I am very happy with the way I played at the India Open. Though I lost to Prannoy because of the ankle issue, I am hoping for good results in future.” said Priyanshu.
“I was eagerly waiting to qualify for Paris Olympics and still want to qualify. Hence, I am planning to claim a few wins in next few tournaments as that will help me gaining some points that will increase my chances of qualification for the Olympics,” signed off Priyanshu.