Born on 2nd February 2002, this eighteen years old Ishaan Bhatnagar from Raipur, Chhattisgarh is doing wonders in the world of Badminton.
He turned 18 recently, promoting his league as a Junior Badminton League to Senior. He has played National and international matches as a junior badminton player and now is looking up to playing as a senior when life will resume back to normal.
How your journey as an International player began?
My father used to go to a club to play Badminton as a hobby and fitness as well. When I turned 8, he took me too along with him to play, and this was how my interest in badminton began. I started to polish my skills from then. I also played my first domestic tournament that year, though I lost, I kept working hard. I started to identify my mistakes and learned to bet better every time. After I started winning tournaments, all I wanted was to play more and more of them. In 2017, I played my first international tournament for Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles. I won 2 silver medals in that tournament in both the categories.
There must be a lot of things that your father and coach must have taught you on the way, right?
My father is my inspiration, I look up to him every time I need motivation. My coach from my Gopichand academy in Hyderabad, Pullea Gopichand, has taught me that ‘you don’t get everything easily, you have to work for it.’ Like you have to give your 100% in every match, just don’t think about winning and losing and just focus on the match. My idol is Kein Sanjaya who is an Indonesian player, a legend I call him. When I play, all I have in my mind is to make my parents and my coach proud. I look forward to giving my parents a lavish life, that’s it.
So you had all the support of your family, that’s lovely. There must be some hardships that you must have faced reaching here. What were they?
Yes, my parents have always supported me in every possible way they can as I am their single child. Hardships are common in the life of sportsmen. Every player is different, and each one of them is giving their 100%, defeating them by working your mind and strategy is a big challenge. Matches become tougher as you go to a higher level.
How do you feel about being an international player now?
I feel like I am achieving something now. In the academy, we play with great badminton players like P.V. Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, etc many a time. I have missed my school life and I’ll have to miss my college life as well, but you know what? It’s all worth it. I am playing pretty well right now and so I don’t regret anything. My younger cousins look up to me, they too started to play badminton, like ‘we want to be like Ishaan bhayia’. It’s their absolute pleasure watching me play on the television. I can see my family turn into a ‘sports family’ because of me.
Are you missing being away from the court?
The last match I played was in Bareilly, which was also my first match as a senior player, in February and after that this lockdown happened. So for like 4 months, I did no practice, and yes at that time I was missing the court very much. For a few months, I started to train again so I can say I am ready for playing matches again. Next month in October we’ll be back to the Academy in Hyderabad and then in 2 months hopefully the tournaments are going to resume.
So apart from Badminton, what are the other things you like to do?
I like to play football and online games and when I get time I watch anything on Netflix. But my favorite pass time is to sleep actually. During our training and after matches, we get so tired that all we think about is when we’ll go the bed. I would like to meet Christiano Ronaldo one day, Virat Kohli, and other cricket legends one day.
What you look at life?
I’ll say, that is full of hardships and problems but all I want is to live it as it’s best. I want to give 100% effort to everything and make my parents and family proud of what I become.