There must be more than one net against Sameer
Sameer told TOI on Sunday “I was nervous in the final. Nobody expected me to reach that far so it put extra pressure on me. I could have beaten him but his net play was quite good. Despite trying hard, I failed to counter his dribbles at the net.”
“When I realized he is unbeatable at the net, I tried to play to my strength which is involving the opponent in the rallies. I won most of the points when I involved him in the rallies. He then adopted time-wasting strategy after the end of each rally which broke my rhythm.” reasoned Sameer.
NAGPUR: If elder brother makes waves at the senior level, can younger one be far behind?
Until last week, the world only knew about Sourabh Verma but a spectacular performance by younger brother Sameer in the Asian Youth Badminton Championship in Lucknow has brought the MP shuttler into fame.
Seventeen-year-old Sameer not only helped India reach semifinals in the team championship but he also stormed into the singles final in the individual event. The icing on the cake would have been the title but he failed to clear the last hurdle and went down fighting against Malaysia’s Zulkiffli Zulfadli 15-21, 17-21.
The unseeded Sameer’s giant-killing run, wherein he knocked out several top-ranked seeded players, was stopped by second seed Malaysian on Saturday at the BBD UP Badminton Academy.
“I was nervous in the final. Nobody expected me to reach that far so it put extra pressure on me. I could have beaten him but his net play was quite good. Despite trying hard, I failed to counter his dribbles at the net,” Sameer told TOI on Sunday.
The No.1 junior player in India, however, was not happy with the time-wasting strategy of his opponent in the final. “When I realized he is unbeatable at the net, I tried to play to my strength which is involving the opponent in the rallies. I won most of the points when I involved him in the rallies. He then adopted time-wasting strategy after the end of each rally which broke my rhythm,” reasoned Sameer.
Despite the defeat, Sameer, who won eight matches and lost only one in Lucknow, is thrilled. He was unbeaten in the team championship where he won three matches to help India reach last four. The team management opted to play Pratul Joshi instead of Sameer in the semifinals against China. The move backfired as India lost 0-3.
Sameer, who joined Hyderabad-based Pullela Gopichand Academy just 14 months ago, now targets World Junior Championship scheduled to be held in Chinese Taipei and Youth Commonwealth Games. “I am in good form and hoping to do well in future junior international tournaments including World Championship. I still have one more year in U-19 category and want to make the most of this period,” said Sameer, who credits his success to his parents and coach Gopichand.
Elder brother Sourabh, who stunned the badminton circuit by jumping from 243 to 123 in world rankings in just four months thanks to sensational performance in the India Open and Thailand Open this year, was also delighted with Sameer’s performance.
“Obviously, I am very happy with his show. After every match, I used to speak to him and tell him that take proper rest before the next game. In international matches, recovery is very important as it helps you to give 100% on the court,” said Sourabh, who is two years older than Sameer.
Both Sourabh and Sameer belongs to Dhar, 60-km from Indore (MP). Before shifting their base to Hyderabad, both used to train at the SAI Badminton Centre at Dhar.