Almost a year ago, Parupalli Kashyap faced the threat of a premature end to his career. He suffered a serious asthma attack on the court in Malaysia. He was unable to comprehend what was happening to him, for he was always very careful with his medication.
Kashyap, however, mustered courage and told himself, “If I can battle out this phase, why not venture to achieve excellence in badminton?”
Within a year’s time, the 25-year-old from Hyderabad became a part of Indian badminton history. At the 2012 London Games, he became the first men’s singles player from the country to reach the quarterfinals of the Olympics.
“Honestly, now I am feeling totally different. It is not that I am overconfident, but now I have a gut feeling that I can beat the best of players if I sustain my level of consistency,” said Kashyap, who had taken a day’s break from his daily training at the Pullela Gopi Chand Academy.
“But again, as Gopi Anna (former All England champion Pullela Gopi Chand) insists, I have to keep working hard and stay focussed. He reminds me that I need not do anything extra. ‘Just be consistent and take it event by event’, he says,” Kashyap said, as his parents (Parupalli Uday Shankar and Subadhra) nodded in approval.
It was a double delight of sorts for Kashyap, who gave the World No. 1, Lee Chong Wei, a torrid time in the quarterfinals of the London Olympics. Soon after returning to India, he was given the prestigious Arjuna Award.
“The Arjuna Award is something special; it means so much. Honestly, I never gave a serious thought to it, for I never thought that my recent Indonesian Open and the Olympics performances would be taken into consideration,” he said.