Friday, January 14, 2011

Interview with Aditya Elango

Aditya Elango is one of India's best upcoming badminton players. He is currently ranked 85 in the world. I recently had the pleasure of having an interesting chat with him on badminton, followed by an interview, and here is what he had to say...

An Interview with Aditya Elango

Aditya Elango

Hi Aditya, you hail from Chennai, where Badminton is not really the most popular sport. How did you happen to take up sport?

Aditya Elango:

Yes. It is true that professional Badminton is not very popular here in Chennai. But badminton in the local clubs is very popular in Chennai.

Initially, cricket was my favourite sport. But I started losing interest in the game when I was 9-10 years old.

My mother enrolled me in a badminton camp which was organised by Sanjeev Sir (Mr. Sanjeev Sachdeva - Aditya's coach) in the Nehru Stadium, Chennai.

Sanjeev Sir identified me there, and asked me if I would like to participate in the Chennai district championships that yr. I won the district championship immediately after the coaching camp and that helped me get more interested in the game. And from then on I never had second thoughts about badminton.

How was the experience playing for India at the juniors? Pls. tell us about your most memorable experience.

Aditya Elango:

I represented India at the 2006 Junior Abc and Junior World Championship, at Auckland.

The Junior Abc wasn’t that great for me, but at the world championships, I won 2 rounds and in the round of 32, lost to the 13th seed, Arif Nandang from Indonesia 10-21, 21-19, 19-21. That was definitely the most memorable match in my juniors.

Please tell us more about the injury that you had (the achilles tendon surgery) that put you out of action for quite some time. How did it happen? What were your thoughts during the recovery period?

Aditya Elango:
My tendon injury happened on 9th September 2009. It was during the South Zone championships when I was playing the first singles for Tamil Nadu against Thomas Kurian of Kerala. It was a complete tear and the doctors had to reconstruct it. I underwent the surgery on 15th September and was in rehab for 6 months.

It was pretty painful and a very emotional moment as the injury was a very serious one and career threatening too. But I was lucky that the team of doctors who performed the surgery were very good and I should specially thank my Fitness coach Mr. Riyaz who knew exactly how to deal injuries. He kept me motivated and helped me recover in just about 6 months and I felt as good as new. Generally an Achilles tendon tear take a year to 18 months to recover fully.

On a personal front, the injury was actually a blessing in disguise. It helped me become a stronger person and also helped me become a better person in many ways.

What is your current training schedule & fitness regimen like?

Aditya Elango:
In Chennai we do not have good facilities exclusive for Badminton. We lack a professional academy of sorts. I concentrate mostly on physical fitness, and Riyaz Sir is one of the best in my opinion. I train under him 2 sessions a day (one in the morning and one in the evening).

And court practice I do about one hour of court drills in Towers Club ( it has about 2 courts) under the guidance of Siddharth anna (Mr. Siddharth Jain) in the afternoons. My court drills are mostly multi shuttle feed or shadow practice.

Do you think the badminton facilities in India are adequate at grass-root levels and also at elite levels?

Aditya Elango:
Badminton facilities in India are not adequate in all the states. There are a few states which have very good academies. But there are just maybe 3-5 such places where one can go to become a professional. We need more such academies like in Banglore, Hyderabad and Cochin.

Do you think that Badminton is picking up in India in recent times? How do you think, Indian badminton will be 5 years from now?

Aditya Elango:

In 5 years time, we can expect India to become one of the super powers in badminton like Malaysia, korea  Indonesia and China.

I feel that changing our national ranking system in a way to encourage more players to play international tournaments would help in this.

Who are your favorite badminton players, from India & outside?

Aditya Elango:
I admire Prakash Sir (Prakash Padukone) a lot. And I like Taufik (Taufik Hidayat) a lot for his attitude and style. And Peter Gade for his consistency.

You said that the Top 8 in the world are a class apart from the rest of the lot. What is it that really sets them apart? Is it their skill, speed or something else?

Aditya Elango:
That is a tough one. Well I was just referring to Peter Gade, Lee Chong Wei, Lin Dan and Taufik. Definitely there is speed, skill, fitness and all that. But these guys are legends in the game and they bring  so much energy into the game.
I believe there is always an x factor which determines who you are. and I feel that’s the difference.

How do you rate India's badminton chances at the forthcoming London 2012 Olympics?
Aditya Elango:
Saina is definitely a bright medal prospect. Lets hope for the best.

And what are the goals that you have set for yourself for 2011?

Aditya Elango:
I did play a lot of tournaments in 2010. I felt I was very inconsistent here and there. So I am just going to work on that a lot. This definitely involves a lot of fitness training and court drills which I need do. Siddharth anna and Mr Riyaz will definitely guide me on that.
By the end of 2011 I hope to see myself top 30 in the world and also in the top 10 ranking in India. 

Aditya, Thanks a lot for your time.
Wish you all the very best & hope that all yours dreams are fulfilled.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    It is very good interview. But now things have been changed in Chennai. There are number of good badminton coaches, coaching classes and academies available where interested kids learn skills of badminton.

    Badminton coaches in Chennai & Badminton coaching classes in Chennai