India’s Olympics shuttler Sai Praneeth quits professional badminton

The 31-year-old from Hyderabad decided to hang up his boots after battling nagging injuries since the Tokyo Games.

Sai Praneeth

Eastern Eye

WORLD Championships bronze medallist B Sai Praneeth on Monday (11) announced his retirement from international badminton, bringing down the curtain on a successful career during which he won the Singapore Open and also represented India at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 31-year-old from Hyderabad decided to hang up his boots after battling nagging injuries since the Tokyo Games.

“With a mix of emotions, I pen down these words to bid farewell and announce my retirement from the sport that has been my lifeblood for over 24 years,” he posted on his Instagram account.

“Today, as I embark on a new chapter, I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude for the journey that brought me here.

“Badminton, you have been my first love, my constant companion, shaping my character and giving purpose to my existence. The memories we’ve shared, the challenges we’ve overcome, will forever be etched in my heart.”

Praneeth is set to join as a head coach of Triangle Badminton Academy in USA next month.

“I will be joining in mid-April. I will be the head coach of the club, so I will be overseeing all the players there. Of course, once I am there, we will discuss elaborately about the role,” he told PTI.

In his two-decade-long international career, Praneeth had some fine moments, but the 2017 Singapore Open Super Series win and the bronze medal at the 2019 World Championships in Basel, Switzerland were his instances of crowning glory.

Praneeth reached a career-best ranking of world number 10 and qualified for the Tokyo Olympics but couldn’t make a mark, losing all the matches to make a shock exit at the group stage.

“To my family – my grandparents, parents, and my loving wife Swetha – your endless encouragement has been the bedrock of my success. Without your unwavering support, none of this would have been possible,” said the 2010 world junior bronze medallist.

“A heartfelt thank you to Pullela Gopichand anna, the Gopichand Academy and the entire coaching and support staff. I also thank my coaches from childhood, Arif sir and Govardhan sir.

“I extend my gratitude to the Badminton Association of India, Sports Authority of India, TOPS, Sports Authority of Telangana State, Yonex, ONGC, GoSports, OGQ, APACS and PBL. Your belief in my dreams have been instrumental in my journey.