Padukone urges Indian shuttlers to be selective

Indian badminton legend Prakash Padukone feels Indian shuttlers should be more selective of the tournaments they play and backed Kidambi Srikanth's decision to skip the China Open and the Hong Kong Open to prepare for the Dubai Super Series.

Badminton legend Prakash Padukone urged the top players to take part in at least 1-2 domestic tournaments like the nationals annually to further popularise the sport.   -  V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Player burnout and scheduling are on the top of the agenda across sports. When it comes to India, it's not just restricted to cricket. Even badminton players are facing the dilemma of choosing tournaments carefully to maintain their ranking and remain injury-free. Legendary shuttler Prakash Padukone has advised the current crop of shuttles to be wiser in their choice.

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“They (Indians) are definitely playing more than the required number of tournaments. It's important to strike a right balance between playing and resting. They need to be careful not to play too many. Fatigue and injury can result from playing too many tournaments. I always maintain that while ranking is important it's not the only thing," Padukone, the former All England champion, said on the eve of the Tata Open international challenge badminton tournament, which starts at the Cricket Club of India courts on Wednesday.

“The focus should be on winning the important tournaments like the All England, World Championships, Olympics and Super Series finals. You should try to peak during these periods and accordingly plan your schedule. It doesn't matter if in the bargain your ranking goes down for one week.

"People later remember you by the number of important tournaments you have won. I am not saying ranking is not important, but if there is a variation in ranking that should not worry you much. These big tournaments also give a lot of points.”

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Padukone backs Kidambi Srikanth, who decided to skip the recent China and Hong Kong Super Series events. “What Srikanth has done, to skip tournaments, is the right decision. He could have played China and Hong Kong Opens. He could have become No. 1. But he has resisted the temptation and decided that he will play only in Dubai. There is no guarantee he will win the Dubai event, but I think it's the right way to prepare.

"He has a good chance of doing well there and become the no. 1, if not now but later. The main thing is you should be 100 per cent fit and capable of winning every tournament that you play. That's how I was brought up. Things are the same even now,” he said.