New Delhi: Handed a direct entry at the World Championships, rising Indian shuttler Sameer Verma says he was not expecting to qualify for the tournament but now wants to make it count by returning with a medal from the prestigious tournament.
"I had a chance of qualifying in May but I didn't do well in Singapore and with Sai (Praneeth) winning and Srikanth also reaching the finals, the ranking was up and down. I knew I had a 1 or 2 per cent chance of still making it if there were withdrawals. But I wasn't expecting it," Sameer told PTI.
The 22-year-old from Dhar was in good form when he clinched his maiden Grand Prix Gold title at Syed Modi International in January. He also reached the quarterfinals at India Super Series.
He also played at Singapore Open before suffering a shoulder injury while going through the strenuous training sessions and it necessitated his withdrawal from Indonesia and Australian Open Superseries events in June.
"The injury affected my progress as it took 2-3 weeks for me to regain my fitness. It was also frustrating to not play at Canada for visa issues but US Open was a good tournament, despite my loss in quarters," he said.
"It was my first event after injury and my game was good but not my best. It takes sometime to get back to your best. But this one month break will help me to regain my top game and play against the best at the World Championship and hopefully win a medal."
Sameer along with Kidambi Srikanth, B Sai Praneeth and Ajay Jayaram will be competing in the men's singles competition at the World Championship, while Rituparna Das and Tanvi Lad also qualified behind Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu.
So how do you look at the World Championship?
"It is a big tournament I know but then I will be playing the same players I play in Super Series and so I don't want to think too much about it and put pressure on myself. My focus is on training hard and playing well there," he said.
"Looking at Srikanth winning at Indonesia and Australia has been a great motivation. We have so many good players against whom we train and I think this is an advantage. I know I also belong there.
"I have the game to beat the best and I want to crack the top 10. This would be one of the targets," said the 2016 Hong Kong Super Series Finalist.
Talking about new Indonesian coach Mulyo Handoyo's training, Sameer said: "His long sessions have really helped us. If you notice Srikanth's final against Chen Long. He kept playing the rallies even in the third game, he didn't get tired and it is the difference that his training has made."
India will be fielding the biggest contingent at the World Championship to be held at Glasgow, Scotland from 21 to 27 August with four shuttlers qualifying in both men's and women's singles competition.
Updated Date: Jul 30, 2017 13:23 PM