Over the years, badminton as a sport has gained recognition like never before. This can be credited to the exemplary performance showcased by ace shuttlers from the country on the global platform. Sporting icons like PV Sindhu have a range of achievements under their belt – the most glorious being that she is the only Indian woman to win two Olympic medals.
This is where PNB MetLife Junior Badminton Championship (JBC) steps in, taking a lead in nurturing the right talent at the grassroots level. The initiative works towards realizing the dreams of young children from humble backgrounds, who are aged between 7 and 17 years.
There’s also the JBC Bootcamp – an online badminton academy through which children can hone their badminton skills and receive training from top professional coaches and nutritional tips to become the champions of tomorrow.
The journey of the most well-known badminton players has been nothing short of a dream – but it has always been punctuated with several sacrifices.
We caught up with a few winners of PNB MetLife JBC to understand their fitness mantra, the diet they swear by, and more.
Fitness at the forefront
For someone who plays badminton, there’s nothing more critical than being agile and quick, but that’s something that only comes with practice. The strategies that are followed before a match, and during a tournament are starkly different in most cases. But what’s important is to never compromise on fitness.
Suhina Roy (13), U15 – winner, and U17 – semi-finalist, has been playing badminton for the last 5-6 years. She was inspired to take up the sport, courtesy of her brother who was taking badminton coaching. Today, Roy is a force to be reckoned with, and plays her game with much finesse.
Her session begins at 5.30 am every morning, with 15 minutes being reserved for warm-up.
“My fitness routine includes running, agility, and strengthening exercises, before we practice on the court. For agility, we generally do ladders, hurdles, fast footwork, and shuttle picking. Strengthening exercises mainly include weights,” she shared.
Anvi Sunil Baravkar (8), U9 – semi-finalist, practices on the court four to five days a week, during post-school hours. On other days, she focuses on her motor skills development – learning the piano, going for a swim, or shadow practices with a heavy racket and wristband are part of her schedule.
“Apart from spending time on the court, I do skipping, height bar exercises, and tossing with the table tennis racket at home,” she added.
Another player, Mahi Kolsawala (8), U9 – winner, dedicatedly runs every morning for about 10-15 minutes, and moves on to other exercises. Her routine lasts for about 40 minutes.
“I stretch my entire body, after warming up. After that, it’s about 5-6 rounds of jogging. My cool down routine includes relaxing the lower and upper body,” she explained.
Hazel Joshi (8), U9 – winner, who is being trained by her father, Bhargav Joshi, focuses on physical training twice a week.
“She primarily practices fast feet and shadow exercises, and for cooling down, standing and sitting full body stretching and foam rolling,” he revealed.
A balanced diet
Fitness is important, but so is nutrition. Before playing a match, it is essential not to overload yourself, because it leads to slow movement. A nutritious diet must be consumed before the match, and even after it’s over.
So, what do these young players generally have? “I generally consume a healthy and balanced diet. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, chicken and eggs, and ragi – these foods are my staple,” revealed Adithi Sushanth (10), U11 – winner.
Roy doesn’t follow a specific diet, but she tries to steer clear of junk food as much as possible. There are occasional treats she loves to indulge in – but that’s all!
For Baravkar, a high-protein diet is what works. This includes boiled eggs, dry fruits, chicken, and fish. To stay energized, she consumes carbohydrates before her workout.
Joshi, too, believes in a simple diet that generally includes home-cooked meals. Dry fruits and fruits are eaten in generous amounts, so that she stays as alert and focused as possible.
Preparing like a pro
No match is easy – practice goes a long way in building skills and improving the game. That’s why these young girls didn’t lose heart during the pandemic, and continued to sharpen their techniques.
“There was online fitness coaching and I would play badminton with my father. My preparation remained as strong during the pandemic,” shared Sushanth.
For Roy, too, her game was her focus. She continued practicing exercises at home during Covid-19, and never compromised on her fitness. In fact, to keep her full focus on badminton, she has also enrolled herself in an open school. This helps her juggle both areas more seamlessly.
Every step goes a long way in achieving the biggest sporting dreams – the secret is to ensure consistency and dedication!
This article is produced on behalf of the brand by HT Brand Studio.