London 2012: Self-belief breathes new life into Kashyap

Watching Parupalli Kashyap toppling Chinese heavy-hitter Chen Long in the Indonesia Open recently, it’s hard to remember that a year ago he was in deep personal crisis.

Parupalli Kashyap2Haunted by his elder sister’s death and with his career nearly derailed by injury, Kashyap struggled to keep his Olympic ambitions on track. He was falling behind in the race against compatriot Ajay Jayaram for the sole Olympic spot; it finally played out in a couple of tense matches at the India Open in April where he finally secured his berth.

This 25-year-old has never been a stranger to adversity. As a child he was afflicted by severe breathing difficulties.

“It used to be very bad,” recalled the Bangalore native who enrolled in Prakash Padukone’s Badminton Academy as a child.  “I was sick at every tournament. I had to keep taking antibiotics.”

It would be sometime before he was diagnosed as asthmatic after a series of tests. Since then, medication has been a constant companion.

Over the last two years, Kashyap has played brilliantly at times – his victims include top-ten players like Lee Hyun Il and Nguyen Tien Minh. He has also pushed players like Lin Dan, Taufik Hidayat and Chen Jin to three games – but his good work has been frustratingly undone by inconsistency and injury. From a world ranking of 22 last October, he slid to 31 in March this year and looked in danger of missing the Olympics. The India Open – his last hope of Olympic qualification – saved him. The venue, Siri Fort Complex, where he had won a Commonwealth Games medal in 2010, was again his lucky charm. Having beaten Thai veteran Boonsak Ponsana from match point down, he secured an Olympic place when his next opponent, Chen Jin, withdrew.

To his credit, Kashyap has not allowed his momentum to wane. In Indonesia he astutely executed a specific game plan against Chen Long, luring the Chinese world No.3 into the sort of match he did not relish. 

“It’s my best win by far,” affirmed Kashyap. “Chen is very intimidating. He is strongly built, and his game is very physical. He’s is very steady at his game, no unforced errors. My strength is the net and my hit. You need to stick with him during the rallies. I was able to catch him at the net and even hit through him – that unsettled him, because he was unused to it.”

Having come through a dark period, he looks forward to playing without any inhibitions in London. There is no pressure and he acknowledges as much.

“There’s not much on my mind (about the Olympics). I’m an underdog. Chen Long is one of the toughest players and to beat him in straight games…I felt very happy. It gives me a lot of confidence for the Olympics.”

Reflecting on the challenges he has faced, Kashyap points to the transformation in his badminton career since changing his medication. He blossomed from a short, scrawny boy into a muscular teenager whose game took on the attacking edge for which his coach, Pullela Gopichand, is renowned. It has been a steady rise since 2005 to Kashyap’s current singles ranking of 33.

“Before 2005, nobody told me my condition was asthma,” he disclosed. “But once it was diagnosed and I started using the right medication, my strength grew quickly. I could eat well and I got healthy. I’m still asthmatic and I take medication once a day, but I’m fine otherwise.”

“Asthmatics have to keep on working on endurance. You can’t build it up and stop working on it. My endurance goes down if I don’t work on it. So I do endurance workouts even during tournaments, when other players don’t.”

Top seeds beware: here comes a fit and fighting Parupalli Kashyap – ready for the London Olympics!

Olympic and Paralympic News

History-Making Danes Thwart China – Day 6 Session 1: Rio 2016

History-Making Danes Thwart China – Day 6 Session 1: Rio 2016

16 August 2016
London 2012: Day 9 – Men’s Doubles: Careers Complete with Golden Sweep

London 2012: Day 9 – Men’s Doubles: Careers Complete with Golden Sweep

5 August 2012
London 2012: Day 9 – Men’s Singles: He’s ‘Dan’ It!

London 2012: Day 9 – Men’s Singles: He’s ‘Dan’ It!

5 August 2012
London 2012: Day 8 – Women’s Singles : Li Xuerui Repays Country’s Faith with Gold

London 2012: Day 8 – Women’s Singles : Li Xuerui Repays Country’s...

4 August 2012
London 2012: Day 8 – Women’s Doubles: Double Take for Zhao Yunlei

London 2012: Day 8 – Women’s Doubles: Double Take for Zhao Yunlei

4 August 2012
London 2012: Day 8 – Men’s Doubles Semis: Korea’s Loss is Denmark’s Gain

London 2012: Day 8 – Men’s Doubles Semis: Korea’s Loss is Denmark’s...

4 August 2012
London 2012: Day 7 – Men’s Singles Semis: Lin Dan, Lee Chong Wei in Golden Showdown

London 2012: Day 7 – Men’s Singles Semis: Lin Dan, Lee Chong...

3 August 2012
London 2012: Day 7 – Zhang-Zhao Tops World of Mixed Doubles

London 2012: Day 7 – Zhang-Zhao Tops World of Mixed Doubles

3 August 2012
London 2012: Day 7 – Women’s Singles Semis: Wang Yihan Routs Nehwal

London 2012: Day 7 – Women’s Singles Semis: Wang Yihan Routs Nehwal

3 August 2012
London 2012: Day 6 – Session 3: Lin Dan, Chong Wei in Semi-finals

London 2012: Day 6 – Session 3: Lin Dan, Chong Wei in...

2 August 2012
London 2012: Day 6 – Session 2: China Assured of Mixed Doubles Gold

London 2012: Day 6 – Session 2: China Assured of Mixed Doubles...

2 August 2012
London 2012: Day 6 – Session 1: Four Countries Eye Men’s Doubles Gold

London 2012: Day 6 – Session 1: Four Countries Eye Men’s Doubles...

2 August 2012
London 2012: Day 5 – Session 3: Great Medal Expectations for Saina

London 2012: Day 5 – Session 3: Great Medal Expectations for Saina

1 August 2012
London 2012: Day 5 – Session 2: Juliane Schenk Crashes Out to Ratchanok

London 2012: Day 5 – Session 2: Juliane Schenk Crashes Out to...

1 August 2012
London 2012: Day 5 – Session 1: Final Bow for European Greats

London 2012: Day 5 – Session 1: Final Bow for European Greats

1 August 2012
London 2012: Koreans’ Appeal Rejected; Indonesia’s Withdrawn

London 2012: Koreans’ Appeal Rejected; Indonesia’s Withdrawn

1 August 2012
London 2012: Four Pairs Disqualified

London 2012: Four Pairs Disqualified

1 August 2012
London 2012: Badminton Players to Answer Charges

London 2012: Badminton Players to Answer Charges

1 August 2012
London 2012: Day 4 – Session 3: Lee Yong Dae Looking to ‘Double Up’

London 2012: Day 4 – Session 3: Lee Yong Dae Looking to...

31 July 2012
London 2012: Day 4 – Session 2: Cordon Creates Continental History

London 2012: Day 4 – Session 2: Cordon Creates Continental History

31 July 2012
London 2012: Day 4 – Session 1: Chinese Doubly Surprised!

London 2012: Day 4 – Session 1: Chinese Doubly Surprised!

31 July 2012
London 2012: Day 3 – Session 3: Korea’s Top Guns Bow Out

London 2012: Day 3 – Session 3: Korea’s Top Guns Bow Out

30 July 2012
London 2012: Day 3 – Session 2: Injury Pulls Poles Apart

London 2012: Day 3 – Session 2: Injury Pulls Poles Apart

30 July 2012
London 2012: Day 3 – Session 1: Olympics Gets Even Better for Sri Lankan Flag Bearer

London 2012: Day 3 – Session 1: Olympics Gets Even Better for...

30 July 2012
London 2012: Day 2 – Session 3: Chinese Focused on Golden Finale to Careers

London 2012: Day 2 – Session 3: Chinese Focused on Golden Finale...

29 July 2012
London 2012: Day 2 – Session 2: Beware the Baby-Faced Assassins

London 2012: Day 2 – Session 2: Beware the Baby-Faced Assassins

29 July 2012
London 2012: Day 2 – Session 1: Brits Going Home from the London Olympics

London 2012: Day 2 – Session 1: Brits Going Home from the...

29 July 2012
London 2012: Day 1 – Session 3: Australians’ Fighting Spirit to the Fore

London 2012: Day 1 – Session 3: Australians’ Fighting Spirit to the...

28 July 2012
London 2012: Day 1 – Session 2: Anu ‘Finnish-ed’ Losing at Olympics

London 2012: Day 1 – Session 2: Anu ‘Finnish-ed’ Losing at Olympics

28 July 2012
London 2012: Day 1 – Session 1: Russians Surprise British Hopefuls

London 2012: Day 1 – Session 1: Russians Surprise British Hopefuls

28 July 2012
London 2012: Weight of Country and Continent on Schenk’s Shoulders

London 2012: Weight of Country and Continent on Schenk’s Shoulders

27 July 2012
London 2012: Lin Dan: ‘I was just an ordinary kid like anyone else’

London 2012: Lin Dan: ‘I was just an ordinary kid like anyone...

27 July 2012
London 2012: Lee Chong Wei takes on ghost of Wembley

London 2012: Lee Chong Wei takes on ghost of Wembley

27 July 2012
London 2012: Another Starry Accomplishment in Li Lingwei’s Brilliant Career

London 2012: Another Starry Accomplishment in Li Lingwei’s Brilliant Career

26 July 2012
London 2012: BWF President Hails ‘Worthy Recognition’ For  Sir Craig Reedie

London 2012: BWF President Hails ‘Worthy Recognition’ For Sir Craig Reedie

26 July 2012
London 2012: Brother and sister create badminton history

London 2012: Brother and sister create badminton history

26 July 2012
Robertson lights up Wembley Arena with Olympic torch

Robertson lights up Wembley Arena with Olympic torch

25 July 2012
London 2012: Cai and Fu: Seeking the missing piece to their collection

London 2012: Cai and Fu: Seeking the missing piece to their collection

24 July 2012
London 2012: Olympic Games LIVE DRAW

London 2012: Olympic Games LIVE DRAW

23 July 2012
London 2012 Lilyana Natsir: The key to Indonesia’s golden hopes

London 2012 Lilyana Natsir: The key to Indonesia’s golden hopes

19 July 2012
London 2012: World Championships bronze inspires Ponnappa

London 2012: World Championships bronze inspires Ponnappa

16 July 2012
London 2012: India’s chief strategist plots London game plan

London 2012: India’s chief strategist plots London game plan

15 July 2012
London 2012: ‘Czech’ out Petr in Opening Ceremony – badminton’s gritty warrior leads country

London 2012: ‘Czech’ out Petr in Opening Ceremony – badminton’s gritty warrior...

12 July 2012
London 2012 Olympic Games Qualification: Li Xuerui’s London calling

London 2012 Olympic Games Qualification: Li Xuerui’s London calling

10 July 2012
London 2012: Malaysia’s golden boy still hunting for titles

London 2012: Malaysia’s golden boy still hunting for titles

29 June 2012