Promising indeed

A. S. S. Siril Verma, who won the Asian under-15 badminton singles title recently, seen with his parents Suseela and Vijayarama Raju.-V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Alluri Sri Sai Siril Verma has won the Asian under-15 singles title in Indonesia. There is still a long way to go for him in the demanding circuit. But what has delighted the support staff at the Gopi Chand Academy, where the lad trains, is the commitment and the unstinted zeal that the youngster has shown to keep improving. By V. V. Subrahmanyam.

He could well be the next big hope in the men’s circuit, according to chief national coach Pullela Gopi Chand. And the 14-year-old Alluri Sri Sai Siril Verma lived up to the assessment of his coach by winning the Asian under-15 singles title in Indonesia.

There is still a long way to go for Siril in the demanding circuit. But what has delighted the support staff at the Gopi Chand Academy, where he has been training for the last eight years, is the commitment and the unstinted zeal that the lad has shown to keep improving.

Not surprisingly, Siril, who has returned to Hyderabad from Indonesia, is keen to emulate the feats of his famous coach. “It is not going to be easy. But, given the way Gopi Anna has been taking so much care about us, the onus is on us to really work hard and dream big,” says the 10th standard student of Glendale Academy in Hyderabad.

His father Vijayarama Raju, a former ball badminton player, had taken Siril to the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium when the Asian Satellite championship was on and in which Gopi emerged the champion. This made the lad develop an interest in the sport.

“But, now it is more of a passion for me,” says the young shuttler who won the doubles bronze partnering Ravinder Singh in the PSPB championship before he left for the Asian meet.

Siril is also not so naive as to think that one Asian under-15 title means everything. “Yes, it gives me confidence the next time when I play a big event. But, I am aware that to be a champion you need to put in great efforts,” he says. Siril also has the opportunity of watching and exchanging thoughts with big names like Saina Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap and P. V. Sindhu at the Gopi Academy.

He is quick to point out that he has to work a lot on his stamina and defence. “Right now I am comfortable with my speed and smashes. But again, as Gopi Anna keeps reminding there is no end to learning,” says the articulate Siril, whose family members are distant relatives of the revolutionary freedom fighter Alluri Sitaramaraju.

It is third time lucky for Siril, who failed to get past the quarter-final stage in his previous two appearances in the Asian under-15 championship. “Yes, then I was not sure how to adapt like when to play a drop or smash. Now, I feel more confident,” he says. In the same breath, he asserts that the Asian under-15 title is significant in the context of charting out his preparations for the major events ahead.

“One day, I want to make it big in badminton,” he signs off before joining his fellow players at the Academy.