He ended a 36-year wait by securing a medal at the Badminton World Championships but B Sai Praneeth doesn’t want to dwell on the achievement, saying his focus is on regaining his fitness ahead of the semi-final against Kento Momota.
Praneeth, who had won the Singapore Open in 2017 and finished runners-up at Swiss Open earlier this year, became the first Indian male shuttler in 36 years to grab a podium at the worlds after notching up a 24-22 21-14 win over Asian Games gold medallist Jonatan Christie of Indonesia on Friday.
“It feels awesome. It feels great and I am happy to win today. But I still have matches, so I have to focus on that and be fitter for tomorrow. We can talk about what medal later on,” said world No 19 Praneeth, who got the Arjuna Award this year.
Praneeth joined Prakash Padukone in the medal list at the tournament. Padukone was the first Indian to win a men’s singles World Championships medal – a bronze – in the 1983 edition.
Talking about the match, Praneeth said: “In the first game, the rallies were going on really long and I was attacking a lot and there was a lot of pressure and it made me tired. It was crucial because if he would have won then it could have been different. Later Gopi sir told me not to attack and that changed the rhythm and I think those inputs helped me a lot.”
Praneeth will take on world No 1 Momota of Japan in the semifinals on Saturday. “I think everybody is trying to find a way to beat him. It won’t be easy since he’s the world No 1. You have to put him under pressure, so lets see how it goes. I will give my best.”