Former WC bronze winner Sai Praneeth quits competitive badminton (Ld)

Mumbai, March 4 (IANS) The 2019 World Championship bronze medallist, B. Sai Praneeth has decided to retire from badminton, announcing his decision via social media. “Dear Badminton, thank you,” Sai Praneeth wrote in his post on X (formerly Twitter), on Monday.

The 31-year-old from Hyderabad, Telangana, had won the bronze medal in the 2019 edition held in Basel, Switzerland and was part of the Indian team that won bronze medals in the Asian Team Championships in 2020 and 2016. The 2010 World Junior Badminton Championships bronze medallist, Sai Praneeth was also a member of the Indian team that won gold medal in the South Asian Games 2016.

“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,” Sai Praneeth in his post.

“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,” he added.

In his post, Sai Praneeth also thanked his coach Pullela Gopichand and the Badminton Association of India for their support in his career. “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,” he said.

Praneeth also expressed his gratitude to the Badminton Association of India (BAI), Sports Authority of India, TOPS, Sports Authority of Telangana State, ONGC and GoSports for putting faith in his abilities. “Your belief in my dreams and your contributions to the sport have been instrumental in my journey,” he said in his post.

Sai Praneeth said he will continue his association with badminton in various capacities. “As I close this chapter of my professional life, I carry with me a treasure trove of memories, friendships and the indomitable spirit of a badminton player. Though I bid farewell to competitive play, my love for badminton will endure in various capacities. Whether it’s coaching, mentoring or advocating for the sport’s growth and success,” he said.

Sai Praneeth gained prominence in 2013 when he upset the 2003 All-England Champion Muhammad Hafiz Hashim of Malaysia in the first round of the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold. A few months later, he made everyone sit up and take further notice when the right-handed Sai Praneeth stunned Indonesian legend Taufik Hidayat in front of his home crowd in the Indonesia Open 2013 in three games.

In a career spanning more than a decade, Sai Praneeth secured 225 wins and 151 losses in singles and had a highest ranking of 10 around November 12, 2019.



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