Satwiksairaj-Chirag continue to shine in happy hunting ground


All smiles: India’s Chirag Shetty (right) and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy posing with the trophy and medals. — AFP

PETALING JAYA: Few of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty’s finest hours came in Thailand’s capital city of Bangkok.

The Indians bagged their first major title in 2019 at the Thailand Open and added what Satwiksairaj calls “the biggest achievement of our careers to date” – the Thomas Cup – three years later for their country.

And yesterday, the world No. 3 triumphed again when they defeated China’s Chen Boyang-Liu Yi 21-15, 21-15 to show that Thailand is indeed their happy hunting ground.

The reigning Asian Games champions Satwiksairaj-Chirag are happy that they have extended their love affair with the country.

“We’ve always loved playing in Thailand. There’s a special bond – we won our first event here and also the Thomas Cup. Now one more,” said Satwiksairaj.

“In fact, my first medal at junior level was here as well. We have a lot of good memories.”

Having won many prestigious titles in recent years and reaching world No. 1, Chirag looks back at their breakthrough in 2019 as the moment that lit something in them.

“(The impact) was immense,” said the 26-year-old. “Growing up watching greats like Mohd Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (Indonesians), Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen (Danes) and Lee Yong-dae (South Korean) do it, we had always dreamt of winning a Super Series. When we actually pulled it off, we couldn’t believe it.

“It was an indescribable moment for both of us and then on, we’ve been able to believe in ourselves, that ‘yes, we can achieve great things together’.” — Badminton World Federation

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