Subhankar Dey eyes Top 30 entry in 2020

Shuttler Subhankar Dey says to break into the top 30 he needs to get entries into the big tournaments and it is a matter of time before he makes it.

Subhankar Dey will play for Awadhe Warriors in PBL this year.   -  BWF WEBSITE

Last year, Indian shuttler Subhankar Dey had overcome Chinese legend Lin Dan on his way to glory at the SaarLorLux Open. But Subhankar wasn’t picked by any team in the Premier Badminton League (PBL), despite his good form.

This year, the World No. 46 is back in the PBL after being bought by Awadhe Warriors for Rs. 7 lakh.

“I wasn’t really surprised that I got in this time. It was important for me to play PBL because I haven’t played many Indian tournaments recently. I wanted to do something so that people (Indians) could see me on TV or social media. I didn’t even care about the money. But playing the league was my priority,” Subhankar told Sportstar from Denmark, where he’s playing for Greve Strands BK in the Danish Badminton League.

PBL

In the 2017-18 season, the 26-year-old finished runner-up with Bengaluru Blasters, alongside Danish World No. 5 Viktor Axelsen. This season, Subhankar will have the likes of Anup Sridhar, former Indian player and coach of Warriors, and compatriot Ajay Jayaram by his side.

“I played for Bengaluru in PBL (season) three. That was a great experience as Viktor was there. He’s a good friend of mine. We made the final and that was amazing.

“And now we have a good team and a good chance to do well. I’ve shared rooms with Ajay during tournaments before. We’re really good friends. I’m very happy to get into the Lucknow team where Anup is also there. I’ve trained under him and I’m very comfortable with my team,” he added.

Danish league

Subhankar has played fewer tournaments in 2019 due to his Danish league commitments. With the Olympic qualification period ending in five months, Subhankar only has an outside chance to qualify.

“This year I’ve missed many tournaments because of club-match commitments which were clashing with the tournaments. Even Syed Modi (International) I couldn’t play because of that. Club matches are very important for me because I’ve signed a contract. This league kind of changed my life because I didn’t have any funds or sponsors back then. It’s always a pleasure to play in Denmark. It’s also easy to travel across Europe for tournaments from here.

“Last year I won at SaarLorLux and played well at several international challenges. But this year I haven’t played many challenges. I wanted to focus on big tournaments because of the Olympics. Overall, it was a little difficult to perform consistently. But ups and downs are always there in a sportsperson’s career. This year I can say the graph was down. Hopefully, 2020 is a better year,” said Subhankar.

Top 30

The Kolkata-based badminton player also spoke about his expectations for next year.

“First of all, I want to break into the top 30. I need to get entries into all the Super Series, Premier tournaments etc. So I’m working towards it. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before I get there.”

In March 2018, Subhankar had started his badminton academy in Kolkata. Now he’s expanded it to Mumbai as well. His brother Somnath Kar, who has coached women’s singles player Rituparna Das, the Syed Modi International semifinalist this year, takes care of the academy with Indonesian coach Raka Surya.

Academy

“I had the vision to help young players. I wanted to give back to badminton. I know how much struggle I went through in my career. I wanted to help people who aren’t able to get into top academies. So I chose to start an academy in Kolkata. It’s a dream come true. We have 50-60 players. Players from outside Bengal are also training with us.

“Whenever I’m free I go to the academy and spend time there. My elder brother is also helping me. It’s been seven or eight months since I started another one in Mumbai,” he said.

One of Subhankar’s trainees in Mumbai – Siddhesh Hudekar – has been selected for a three-month training programme in Denmark.

“We have a good set of players. One guy Siddhesh from Mumbai is doing well. He started playing internationals last month. So I’m bringing him to Denmark for training. I’ve always struggled to get opportunities so I’m happy to be able to provide them to others,” Subhankar concluded.

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