“I am aware that I need to cause one or two major upsets to be able to realise my dream of an Olympic medal,” says World championship bronze medallist B. Sai Praneeth.
“When the focus is on winning a medal at the Olympics, everything else gets blurred. Once you enter a major event, the focus has to be on doing well backed by the right preparations,” he told The Hindu .
He is happy with his fitness level going into the Olympics. “I am the kind of player who can play my natural game straight away if I feel I am fit,” he said.
He has prepared for Tokyo the same as he would for any big event. The emphasis was on all-round improvement, he said. Video analyses of his recent matches and those of likely opponents formed part of the preparations.
Also coaches Agus Dwi Santoso and P. Gopi Chand had been providing “invaluable” inputs, he said.
On lack of tournaments before the Games, Sai Praneeth felt it would be the same for everyone and the preparations were planned accordingly. The pandemic restrictions were a bigger torture, he said. “You can easily sort out anything related to your game on the court. But, these restrictions and tests can be a real challenge,” he said.
On this being his first Olympics, the 28-year-old shuttler said it did play on his mind but that he was trying to avoid any pressure.
On training at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium for the last one month, Sai Praneeth said it was a good move.
“The conditions should be similar in Tokyo and hence it was really good to train there,” he said.