Satwiksairaj-Chirag motivated for Tokyo 2021 post Arjuna recognition

Indian badminton doubles duo Satwiksairaj-Chirag have been named for the prestigious Arjuna Award for their consistent performances.

India's lead doubles badminton player R. Satwiksairaj and his mother Rangamani celebrate the moment at their residence in Amalapuram on Tuesday.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT


“It is a belated birthday gift for me,” says R. Satwiksairaj, who along with Chirag Shetty, were named for the Arjuna Award for their consistent performances in badminton.

“The celebrations were on last week [for his 20th birthday]. Now, we have to celebrate this great moment again. I thought I had 50-50 chances of getting it and was a bit tense when told that only one of us could get it. But I am glad that both of us were named for the Award,” Satwik tells Sportstar.

“The Award is special for me for I am getting it at a very young age and after playing for only four years at the international stage. So, in terms of motivation, it is a huge thing for me. This also means recognition of you as a player and that should spur us for achieving much bigger,” he adds.

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“After the disappointment of the 2020 Olympics being postponed, this is real good news. Now, we will work much harder and realise the ultimate goal of winning a medal in the next edition,” says Satwik, who along with Chirag is now ranked World No. 10 in men's doubles.

Satwik-Chirag won the Thailand Open Super 500 championship last year defeating reigning world champions Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen of China to become India's first men's doubles badminton pair to win a Super Series title. They also reached French Open final.

The duo had communication issues initially because of Satwik's poor Hindi (he hails from Amalapuram in Andhra Pradesh). But they handled the challenges to come out stronger.

Chirag Shetty and R. Satwiksairaj with their medals at Thailand Open.   -  PTI Photo


“Now, it is better communication, mutual trust and adaptability to different situations much quicker make us a force to reckon with,” Satwik says.

“I dedicate this Award to my parents, Viswanatham and Rangamani, chief national coach Gopichand [Pullela] sir and all the support staff and fellow players at Gopi Academy for all the support,” he concludes.

Chirag dedicated the Award it to his parents, Chandrasekhar Shetty and Sujata Shetty. “It is great to be recognised by the whole country and certainly make us dream big and chase the Olympics medal,” he says.

“What makes our combination special is the way we complement and don’t blame each other even when things go wrong and simply keep moving ahead,” Chirag says.

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