Grit and determination are the two virtues that perfectly define a sportsman. But we often forget another quality that makes a tremendous difference, coordination. Playing alone and giving your best is easier than playing with a partner and ensuring that you both give your best. The quality of lifting others along with yourself, is what sets champions apart.
Today, we are discovering myriad aspects of one such champion. He is still very young and has a really long way to go. However, even before he turned an adult, he has immense maturity and humility. His team members and partners have always had kind words for this lad. Whether playing for India or in the Premier Badminton League, he has always given his very best and outclassed some of the best in the field.
We are talking about the emerging badminton champ, Sathwiksairaj Rankireddy!
|Full Name||Sathwiksairaj Rankireddy|
|Birth Details||13 August 2000 (Amalapuram, Andhra Pradesh)|
|Coach||Pullela Gopichand, Tan Kim Her|
|Highest Ranking||18 (June 2018)|
|Current Ranking||19 (November 2018)|
How it all began
Thank you each and everyone for your wonderful wishes. pic.twitter.com/j9655LWOJU
— Satwik SaiRaj Rankireddy (@satwiksairaj) August 13, 2018
Sathwik’s father is a former state-level badminton player himself and his elder brother is also a badminton player. It isn’t surprising then that Sathwik decided to pursue the game.
His family has not only supported, but also encouraged his ambitions. He decided the train under the legend himself. In 2014, he joined the Pullela Gopichand Academy. Gopichand, the legendary badminton player himself, has shaped the careers of the best in Indian badminton. Training under him was the best thing that could have happened for Sathwik.
You are the one who worked in the dark to show light to us. We never forget your efforts to make India Badminton on top of world. Happy birthday guruji Gopi sir 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/2TA1hu5w4Y
— Satwik SaiRaj Rankireddy (@satwiksairaj) November 16, 2018
Sathwik decided to train as a doubles specialist and that turned out to be an excellent decision for him.
The Smash champ
In an interview with the Scroll, Sathwik explained how he developed his attacking style and how playing doubles are far more difficult than what most people think.
“There weren’t enough courts and there were 30-40 members, so we used to play only doubles on the courts. That’s why my strokes are all doubles strokes. I used to only smash, smash, smash”, he said.
Sathwik also added, “It is tougher to play doubles because there needs to be a good understanding between partners, good communication and the right mindset.”
“In singles, you play alone, but in doubles, if your partner is not feeling good you will lose the match. Doubles is also a faster game and you need to play more rallies, more smashes. You need more brains and it’s a mind-game,” he added.
Sathwik sure has got both, brains and the brawl! His mindset is going to take him to places.
The Unbeatable Duo
Chirag Shetty and Sathwiksairaj Rankireddy have become the dynamic duo of Indian badminton. Their pairing has turned out to be one of the most successful pairings in recent times. It wasn’t easy though.
Coming from diverse backgrounds, they took quite some time to actually get along. However, once they did, there’s no stopping them. Malaysian coach Tan Kim Her played a crucial role in bringing the pair together. In an interview with the Scroll, Sathwik shared his thoughts on the same.
Rankireddy said, “We also started staying in one room. Earlier we used to stay in different rooms. I used to go out with Telugu people a lot. Then I didn’t like to go out with North Indian guys. He used to eat everything, I used to eat only Indian food. So I used to go alone.”
He added, “Tan, our coach said that in Malaysia they do it this way. It is like the doubles players are like in a marriage.”
The coach has high expectations from her prodigies. “This year Satwik-Chirag pair made a breakthrough by reaching quarters. Next year they should play semifinals and in 2019 they should play finals. If there is no injury, Satwik-Chirag will win a medal in 2020 Olympics,” Kim told the Times of India after their stunning performance in the Superseries circuit.
In March 2018, the pair broke into the top 20 for the first time in their career. Tan’s arrival has definitely helped Sathwiksairaj and the entire doubles team. Their technique has developed by leaps and bounds.
Thanks for the coaches, physios all the people who supported us .Thank you #Frenchopen750 for the memories, last year its quarterfinals This year its Semifinals and Next year 🤔🤔lets make it count what say partners @Shettychirag04 @P9Ashwini 😉🤙🏼 #parislove #Indianbadminton pic.twitter.com/125ifl5yH5
— Satwik SaiRaj Rankireddy (@satwiksairaj) October 28, 2018
Sathwiksairaj first came into the limelight when he won the Tata Open India Challenge with Chirag. The pair went on to outclass former Olympic champion Markis Kido and his partner Hendra Gunawan to win the Vietnam Open International Challenge. This victory made them badminton sensations of India. Later, they qualified for the Glasgow World Championship.
Their performances at the Korea Open and the French Open were very commendable. They could reach the quarterfinals of the tournament.
Commonwealth Games 2018
India shuttles its way to the Top! 🎉
🇮🇳 claims the No.1 spot in medal rankings for #GC2018BADMINTON with a 🥈won by Chirag Chandrashekhar Shetty & Satwik Rankireddy in the men's doubles event. It's also our 1st ever #CWG medal in the category! Such a great achievement! 👏 pic.twitter.com/Z5UARbsxUh
— Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) April 15, 2018
India has produced numerous badminton legends. It is surprising then that we don’t have many team medals in the Commonwealth Games. This changed in 2018. At the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, the Indian badminton team won the gold at the mixed event. Sathwiksairaj, with partner Ashwini Ponappa, smashed excellent shots to beat Malaysian opponents, Peng Soon Chang and Liu Ying Goh.
Satwik added another medal to his tally. He defeated, along with Chirag, Sri Lanka’s Buwaneka Goonethilleka to enter the finals of the men’s doubles event. The pair became the first Indians to do so. Unfortunately, they lost out to Ellis and Langridge from England in the finals. They had to settle with the silver eventually.
Premier Badminton League
Sathwik started his Premier Badminton League (PBL) career with Hyderabad Hunters. He was a part of the title-winning team of 2017. His unorthodox style and tremendous energy made him a quite popular in the team. Also, his versatility as doubles and mixed doubles player gave him an extra edge.
— PBL India (@PBLIndiaLive) January 14, 2018
In 2018, Ahmedabad Smash Masters signed on Sathwiksairaj Rankireddy for a staggering amount of 52 lakh!
“Tell me one reason not to pick him up? In all the team strategies I have devised, he’s a key member. We were clear from the very beginning that we have to get him on board. He’s performed consistently on the international circuit and is a very effective player,” Ahmedabad coach Madhumita Bisht told the Indian Express.
- Sathwik’s long-time dream is to own a luxury high-end car.
- Sathwik wasn’t very excited to partner with Chirag Shetty initially. He used to play with Krishna Prasad, but Coach Tan changed their pairing. However, the reluctance soon turned into enthusiasm as the duo discovered how similar their playing styles are.
Sathwik has just turned 18 and has many more years to shape his career and reach heights. With his attacking mindset and cooperative stance, he is perhaps the best doubles player in the country. His sole focus on doubles has uplifted his game to tremendous heights. It will be very interesting to see his future progress.
|2018||Gold Coast, Australia||Mixed Team||Gold|
|2018||Gold Coast, Australia||Men’s Doubles||Silver|
Asia Team Championships
|2016||Hyderabad, India||Men’s Team||Bronze|
Carolina Marin goofing around with PBL teammate Satwiksairaj
Sathwik with Sumeeth Reddy and Srikanth Kidambi at Gold Coast
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