Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk is determined to see Hyderabad Hotshots maintaining its top spot on the table going into the final round of the league matches the inaugural Indian Badminton League.
“We are at the top right now, and we want to win the championship. We enjoy great bonding and are really determined to script a memorable chapter,” says the 23-year-old Thai player.
With Taufik Hidayat, the former World and Olympic champion not playing all the matches, it is up to both Jayram and Saensomboonsuk to lead the men’s singles challenge, even as Saina Nehwal continues to be the star attraction for the Hyderabad-based franchisee.
Saensomboonsuk, who is unbeaten in the League so far, says that IBL is an exciting experience, and that he is picking up many valuable tips from seniors like Hidayat and Saina.
“We can learn a lot from their experience. Both are big names back in our own country too,” says Saensomboonsuk, a student of Sports Science from Bangkok.
He adds that that there is a huge following for IBL in Thailand too.
Revolution of sorts
The World No. 19, who himself is regarded as one of the best young players from Thailand, says that the success of Ratchanok Intanon, the newly-crowned women’s singles world champion, has brought about a revolution of sorts, with many kids taking up badminton in his country.
“We are also really pleased that five of the top 20 women players in the world are from Thailand,” he says.
Looking forward, Saensomboonsuk says: “I have set myself the goal of winning a medal in the 2016 Olympics. Fortunately, we have a very strong training system in Thailand, and even the Government is extending all possible help to us. So, I am really confident of realising my goal.”
Speaking of his IBL experience, he says. “Definitely, it has been a great privilege and pleasure to play for Hyderabad Hotshots. We (all players) are enjoying every moment because of the warmth and the friendly nature of the people here. There is always someone who can sort out any issue.
“It should be great if we finish off in style.”
World No. 24 Ajay Jayaram says that after a sluggish start he is finding his groove in the IBL.
“I had a very good chance of beating Lee Chong Wei the other day. But, again, after my decent start in the decider, he just broke away. But I prefer to look at the positives and try to be consistent,” he says.
“I am enjoying the competition, and it is a great learning experience.
“Honestly, the IBL has been a great platform to build friendship.”