From Court to Glory: In Conversation with the rising star Priyanshu Rajawat; owes all achievements to his family and coach.

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Ranked 31st in the world, Priyanshu is another Indian Rockstar shuttler in the making. At just 21, he is already winning key contests with his controlled aggression and smarter moves in the court. In a freewheeling chat, Priyanshu opens up on his childhood, his success mantras and his dreams going forward…

Read in and drop your comments below.

Can you tell us about your childhood and a bit about your early days in badminton? How did growing up in Madhya Pradesh influence your interest in badminton? As the son of a Rajasthani photocopy business owner, how did your family support your pursuit of badminton?

At a young age of seven, I was selected to join Gopichand Academy which is why I didn’t spend much of my childhood at home. Though, before that I lived a pretty normal life like any other child where my regime usually involved going for my sessions and my school. My family has been my staunch supporters towards the sport growing up who encouraged me at every step of my way and I owe all my achievements to them. I feel blessed to be born to such inspiring and supportive parents. 

Priyanshu Rajawat and his teammates, a young force to be reckoned with at the Gwalior badminton event

What inspired you to start playing badminton at such a young age? Did anyone in particular influence your decision? Also, could you share a little about your family with us?

My elder brother Kunal was engaged in Badminton and I used to accompany my dad to his games. One day I witnessed a drawback in his play and discussed it with my father who encouraged me to guide him on how it is done. That was the first day I had held the racket and there has been no looking back ever since. I still remember the feeling of holding the racket and the pleasure and excitement I felt at that very moment. I realized my passion there for the sport and ever since have kept going to fuel my dreams into reality. Coming to my family, I hail from a small family of five including me which comprises my father who runs his own business, my mother, who is a homemaker, my elder sister, Taneea, who is an actress and my brother Kunal, who recently commenced his own cafe. Growing up, we have been a close-knitted and supportive family who has always held each other’s back and supported each other’s dreams. 

What was it like to have your skills recognized by Pullela Gopichand, a renowned coach in Indian badminton during an event in Gwalior? How has your association with Pullela Gopichand and his academy shaped your development as a player?

I consider it an honor to be selected to join Sir Gopichand’s academy at such a young age where only few selected gems make it. I truly owe my career and achievements to sir and I believe whatever I have achieved till date is a result of his guidance and belief in me. He has guided me at every step of my way and encouraged me whenever I fell back. I look forward to playing much more prestigious tournaments and making him proud of his decision as well as my achievements. 

Priyanshu’s childhood memories from his participation at Gwalior event where he was selected by Pullela Gopichand Academy

Can you describe your training regime and any specific areas you have been focusing on to continuously improve your skills and technique?

My normal usually starts at 8 with a 3hr session and thereafter I have an evening session at 4pm which goes on for around 2 hours. In between we have swimming and weights thrice a week. Besides that, briefly I also train 5 hours a day. Apart from other activities we also emphasize on my fitness and stamina.

Congratulations on becoming India’s first singles title winner on the BWF World Tour in 2023! How does it feel to achieve such a significant milestone in your career?

I feel really grateful and amazing to be winning such a title. It’s an honor to be awarded such a prestigious title among such highly competent players and be awarded for my hardwork and my game. Though I believe that this is just the beginning and I have longer miles to go and bigger goals to achieve in life.

Can you describe the journey and hard work that led to your victory on the BWF World Tour? Were there any specific challenges you faced during the tournament?

Indulging in such a well-renowned and highly acclaimed event involves a lot of pressure. I believe the biggest challenge I faced was to learn how to maintain my composure and stay calm while staying focussed towards my game and going constantly towards my goals. I believe with the right set of guidance and dedication anyone can succeed. 

You also won the Gold medal at the Orleans Masters in France in 2023. Could you share your experience of competing in that tournament and your thoughts on emerging victorious?

Winning Orleans masters provided me with a good amount of confidence and exposure as it was my first Super 300 title. It provided me with a lot of insights on the game and a pragmatic experience. Before that all my performance was in the academy and watching the games of other players online but to get on the field and play against such highly proficient players was a different level of experience. I look forward to winning more such tournaments in the near future. 

Priyanshu Rajawat’s heartwarming connection with his siblings

Winning multiple international titles requires consistent performance and dedication. How do you manage to maintain your form and focus throughout the season and different tournaments?

My coaches and the support staff have been of immense help who help me in maintaining my form and focus throughout the season during different tournaments. Besides this I also do physiotherapy which also helps me a lot. 

In your opinion, what are some of the key factors that have contributed to the rise of Indian badminton in recent years?

I believe SAI and BAI have served as a pillar of strength for the badminton industry which has been one of the key factors for the rise of the sport. They provided us with the help of international coaches for specific events who helped us tremendously by providing global insights and their expertise on different matches. Besides, there is a different coach for almost every different event which helps us acquire the multicultural atmosphere and distinct intakes of coaches and learn from their expertise. This way the player gets more attention from the coach and coaches are also able to work more closely with the players. Moreover, now that Indian Badminton is performing well, government and private companies are also helping players by sponsoring them and as a result of such investment, players are able to emphasize more on their nutrition, training and other key areas which is leading to better results. 

How do you handle the expectations and pressure that come with being a top-level badminton player, especially after achieving significant milestones in your career?

Honestly speaking, I don’t take much pressure mentally as I am well aware how demeaning it can be and it can affect my game and other areas of my life so my focus is always towards giving my best and staying motivated towards my present match. Even when I lose, I take it as a learning to perform better next time and come out stronger. 

Being a rising star in Indian badminton, have you had the opportunity to collaborate with any well-known sponsors or brands? Are there any key sponsors that helped you during your journey?

Yes, Yonex, TOPS and OGQ have been my sponsors and have helped me alot which has helped me in the enhancement of my game. 

Some more glimpses of Priyanshu’s childhood

What are your future aspirations in the sport and how are you gearing up for it? Are there any upcoming tournaments you are looking forward to participating in? Can you name some of the athletes whose work you have been following and look up to?

Presently, I intend to stay consistent towards my game and break among the top 20 players of the world. I am practicing to better align my game and become stronger, especially mentally. I am participating in Korea Open and Japan open this month. Since my childhood I always looked up to Lin Dan and some of the Indian players I really admire are Srikanth bhaiya’s game and look up to him a lot. 

Priyanshu with his adoring family

What advice would you give to young badminton players who aspire to achieve the level of success that you have attained?

I would suggest young badminton players keep patience as ups and downs are part of the game. Don’t lose hope, keep working hard and eventually you will get there. 

CynergySports wishes Priyansh Rajawat, a safe health & a successful 2023. We wish you great success in years to come. Cynergysports is thankful to him for his time & the support to the wider community.

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