Deserving athletes have sometimes failed to make it to the Olympics and others have found themselves there by quirk of fate. India’s badminton star Parupalli Kashyap is one of those to qualify for the London Games following an unexpected twist and he thanks his stars for it.
There is that famous instance of legendary American Jesse Owens making history at the Berlin Olympics when many thought his fellow sprinter Eulace Peacock, a greater athlete, would take the event by storm but could not make it after pulling a thigh muscle in 1936.
Kashyap, similarly, has a chance to etch his name in the history books while his compatriot Ajay Jayaram, who should have qualified by virtue of his superior ranking, is cooling heels back home in Mumbai.
Kashyap says he would have preferred to go to the Olympics on his own steam and feels sorry for Jayaram.
“Jayaram is a great competitor but I peaked at the right time. I would have liked to go to the Olympics on my own rather than the way I did, but I take it. This is a dream come true for me,” Kashyap told IANS.
“Rankings make a lot of sense for deserving players. I did well at the right time and qualified. But it’s not that I did badly before and did well in the end. I have been doing well consistently and yes towards the end I did get a little lucky,” said Kashyap.
Talking about breaking the Chinese barrier that stands between him and a medal in London, Kashyap says it is very difficult to get past the Chinese.
“Chinese have a lot of variety, there is a production line of great players coming from there. I would have to tackle them each differently and I will try my best.”
The Hyderabadi said his aim was to reach the top 10 in the world and for that he needed to work on certain things.
“I am coming into form at the right time and my first aim is to reach the top 10. For that I need to focus on my fitness and I need to play longer rallies.”
Kashyap credited Saina Nehwal for the turnaround of fortunes in Indian badminton.
“Saina has changed the face of badminton in India. A lot of credit needs to go to her for the growth of the sport,” he said.