HS Prannoy grabbed his third Grand Prix Gold title on Sunday, overcoming compatriot P Kashyap in a gruelling three game encounter. The triumph was probably a culmination of a good run of form since returning from injury for the 25-year-old – he defeated Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long in back-to-back matches in the Indonesia Super Series last month.
That performance made him a favourite for both the Canada Grand Prix and US Open but yet another freak injury – an inflammation in his tail bone – affected his performance in the first tournament. But Prannoy, still India’s only Youth Olympics medallist in badminton, recovered well in time to put in his first title-winning performance since the Swiss Open crown in March last year.
“It was a very good match. Almost all the rallies were 15-20 strokes and the intensity was also very high. Thankfully, I got a very good start in the decider and that worked,” Prannoy told The Field from Anaheim.
“My preparations for both the tournament were very good and I was confident that I can win both the events. I know people keep talking about me being inconsistent but in Canada, a sudden inflammation flared up and that affected my performance. I got ample rest before the US Open and was feeling pretty well and I am happy that I could go the distance and win the tournament,” he added.
Prannoy’s career has been dodged with frequent injuries and the 25-year-old has missed out considerable period of competition every year due to them. Most of these are due to his unique body structure and the stop-start rhythm to his tournament calendar also adds to it.
He lost almost half a year due to a knee and back injury in 2010-11 and then another toe and back injury kept him away for a considerable period soon after winning the Swiss Open last year.
But it is the inflammations and stress injuries that affect his consistency during the tournaments. Take the case of Canada Open. “The inflammation was unexpected and I just couldn’t push after that in Canada Open. I can’t do much about such things as they suddenly flare up,” said Prannoy, who lost to Korea’s Jeon Hyeok Jin in the pre-quarterfinals.
So how does he cope with such unexpected situations? “I have made peace with the fact that this his how things will be. Earlier, I used to think a lot about the injuries and sulk. That used to create negative vibes.”
“Now I just don’t think about them. I concentrate on the recovery and try and just push myself once I am feeling better,” said Prannoy.
Prannoy admits someone else could have even considered quitting a couple of years back with the kind of injuries he suffered, but that is the last thing on Prannoy’s mind as the world number 23 packs his bags to fly to Auckland for next week’s New Zealand Grand Prix Gold event where he is seeded fourth. He should once again start as one of the pre-tournament favourite and, save for injuries, it will be a chance for him to prove he can indeed be consistent.