Tarun and Arun elated over men's doubles victory
For someone who had never won a national title in any category, the men's doubles victory (partnering Arun Vishnu from Kerala) in the Bangalore Senior National Badminton Championship on Wednesday evening was apparently a moment of reckoning for the 22-year-old Tarun Kona.
Reason? Tarun, who trains along with Arun at the Gopi Chand Academy, happens to be the first men's doubles champion from Andhra Pradesh in the Senior nationals history. “Somehow we had a very strong feeling from the start that this is going to be our Nationals. It was pure self-belief. Importantly, we were consistent right through. It was a sweet revenge, in a way, having lost to the same opponents (Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas) in the 2009 Nationals,” recalls a jubilant Tarun.
Partnering Arun since 2008, Tarun obviously rates the 21-16, 16-21, 21-18 win in the doubles final as the biggest moment in his career. “Honestly, the feeling of winning it is yet to sink in. We are still wondering whether we had actually won it,” says Tarun, who admires Malaysian World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, even a day after the magnificent victory.
“The big wins in the Devanagiri and Mumbai invitational tournaments helped our morale to be on a high. All that we were keen was to be focussed and work really hard,” say both Tarun and Arun. “Well, I dedicate this victory to my parents (Ramakrishna Reddy, a businessman, and mother Vijayalakshmi (chartered accountant), and more importantly to the coaches Gopi anna, Arif Sir, Siyadutt and Rajendra,” says a grateful Tarun, who is an Engineering graduate.
What next? “Right now, we are World No. 83, wish to break into top 50 by this April and into 30 by this year-end,” says Tarun , who is right now on a scholarship with IOC and also gets some sponsorship from LG.
“We don't want to talk big right now other than hoping to win more international titles abroad,” says Tarun, who with Arun won the Bangladesh International recently.
What makes you and Arun gel so well? “Initially it was more like a business-like relationship confining to just playing as doubles partners. But, now we are very close friends sharing lot of things in life and not just badminton,” says Tarun.
Considering that Tarun and Arun achieved what even Manoj Kumar and Praveen Kumar, who were an inspiration for many shuttlers including Gopi in late 80s and 90s, could not (primarily because they invariably had to concede doubles knock-out matches to focus on singles) should put Tarun and Arun's achievement in proper perspective.