Prannoy in no mood to rush back from back injury as Olympic qualification awaits

Recovering from a back injury, star Indian aviator HS Prannoy says he doesn’t want to claw his way back as he knows the “toughest” job of sealing an Olympic berth is at wait for next year.

HS Prannoy India

Considered the world No. 8 that the Olympic qualification system in badminton is a “big issue” because players can’t pick and choose tournaments, making the coming months crucial as they try to get into the “safe zone” in terms of eventual rankings . of April.

Prannoy, who ended India’s 41-year wait for an Asian Games medal with the men’s singles bronze, is managing a back injury that troubled him in Hangzhou.

“(It’s) better I would say. (It’s) just taking a bit more time than usual just to be on the safe side, looking at the number of tournaments you have to play from next year,” Pranoy told PTI in an interview.

“(I’m) just taking it a little bit slow, not rushing up on the injured side. I’d say it’s a lot better than it was during the Asian Games, I’ve started training too. I’ll have to look at how things will turn out in the next few tournaments.”

Prannoy is scheduled to participate in the Japan Open Super 500 and China Open Super 750 tournaments this month.

The Olympic qualifying period began on 1 May 2023 and will end on 28 April next year with players within the top 16 making the cut.

“That is the biggest problem in badminton, where the qualification period is until April 30. It is the most difficult job to qualify in badminton – we have to be in the top 16 in the world ranking,” said the 31-year-old during a collaboration announcement with the Federal Bank.

“That’s one big issue when we get into the Olympic cycle where we can’t pick and choose a lot, we’re going to have to play in a lot of tournaments to make sure you’re in that safe zone.

“But yes, after April, you can pick and choose what you want to play and there will be a 2-3 month window to kind of train and try to peak for the Olympics. But before that, I would say ( is) still running the race and it’s pretty much open to all the players who want to qualify.”

Prannoy, who claimed a bronze medal in the world championships this year, is optimistic about India’s medal chances at the Paris Games.

“The coming years look very promising. Certainly, we have been increasing for the last 10 years, big medals coming in from big events – in every cycle of the Asian Games, the Commonwealth Games or the Olympic Games – for we managed to get. medals,” he said.

“Looking at the Olympics in Paris, (I’m) very hopeful that we have a very strong badminton squad out there for medal prospects, we also have men’s singles, men’s doubles and women’s singles which are very strong and we can always go on for a while. base.

“After that, we’ll have to see how the juniors come in and pay off over the next four years. But for the time being, we’re only thinking (about) the 2024 Olympics.”

Pranoy said he is not losing sleep over ratings and is focusing on improving his consistency.

“Take care of the consistency and the ranking also takes care of itself. In the coming year also the goal would be to see how consistent you can play badminton – and that is the most difficult thing to do given the number of upcoming competitions – and how to manage your body in the right way.

“We also have to get the workload right. That’s the biggest challenge I’ll face as a player in the coming years.”

The Thiruvananthapuram man said he has not yet moved to Tamil Nadu but is looking at a long-term association with TNBA.

“I still haven’t (moved),” he said.

“The support for Tamil Nadu sportsmen has been great and the Tamil Nadu badminton association is also very keen to ensure that they have the next batch of players for the state.

“In that way, I was looking at having a very long plan and thinking how I can help them (with) the next set of players after my career. Certainly, I want to play at the highest level for the next 3-. 4 years and if I went to the next step, the support would be needed. That way, it would be a good option to think about.”

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