Reigning national champion HS Prannoy has said his focus will be on winning medals for the country at Asian and Commonwealth Games and not on rankings in 2018, which is expected to be a busy year for top shuttlers across the globe.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF), while announcing a revamped and cramped international schedule for 2018, made it mandatory for top 15 players in the singles events and top 10 pairs in the doubles disciplines to play a minimum of 12 tournaments. Players failing to do so might see a dip in rankings or even face a penalty.
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While the revamped tour has received mixed reactions from players, Prannoy stresses on the need to find a balance between going behind rankings and staying injury-free during the Commonwealth (scheduled between April 4 and 15 in Gold Coast) and Asian Games (to be played between August 18 and September 2 in Jakarta).
"I need to be really selective [in choosing tournaments]. I think I am just going to play the ones for which I am physically fit. So I think I need to take enough time for training and make sure I don't rush for all the tournaments. Probably, I shouldn't be going behind the rankings," Prannoy told the media in Chennai during his Premier Badminton League (PBL) outing with Ahmedabad Smash Masters.
He added: "It's okay for three or four tournaments in the calendar year to be compulsory. But I think making all the 12 compulsory is going to be very hectic. And especially in a year where we have World Championships, Commonwealth and Asian Games.
"We need to really push through as we're trying for big medals."
Prannoy's dream run in 2017
Notably, Prannoy had a dream year in 2018, in which he rose 18 spots to number 10 on BWF rankings. The 25-year-old won the US Open Grand Prix Gold in July and went on to beat the likes of Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long during his consistent appearances in the final stages of Superseries tournaments.
Prannoy reached his maiden Superseries semi-final in France last October, only to lose to compatriot and eventual champion Kidambi Srikanth. However, the sturdy shuttler avenged his defeat in the final of Senior National Championships later in the year.
NOTE: India had a good run at 2014 Commonwealth Games with a total of four medals. While Parupalli Kashyap won the men's singles gold, PV Sindhu and Gurusai Dutt won the bronze medals in singles categories.
Meanwhile, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa won a silver for the country in the women's doubles category.
On the other hand, India bagged a bronze at the 2014 Asian Games in the women's team category.