For the last three months, Ludhiana lad Pranav Chopra not only had to worry about his shoulder injury but also about the preparations for the Brazil Grand Prix. With no financial support from the Punjab government and the National Federation, the 24-year-old along with his mixed doubles partner Sikki Reddy had to manage the Brazil trip in August on their own and the top-seeded pair returned home winning the tournament last week. Not only this, by defeating the Canadian pair of Toby Ng and Rachel Honderich 21-15, 21-16 in the final, the pair also became the third Indian mixed doubles pair ever to win a Grand Prix event.
“I had not played competitive badminton for the last three months due to my shoulder injury. I was training at the Gopichand Academy and we also had to worry about the expenses for the trip. Neither the federation nor the Punjab government helped me. Sikki and I have been playing together for some time and the win against the German pair in the semi-finals set things up for us before the final. It was great to win our first ever Grand Prix title and it has come at a right time for me,” said Chopra, who started playing badminton at Shastri Hall in Ludhiana and later joined the Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad for training.
Chopra first hogged the limelight when he won the doubles titles representing Punjab in the Senior Nationals Championships at Rohtak in 2011. The same year also saw Chopra winning the silver in men’s doubles in Swiss International Challenge. Last year, Chopra won the doubles title along with Akshay Dewalkar in Bangladesh Open before winning gold in mixed doubles with Sikki Reddy in South Asian Games earlier this year. The same event saw Chopra winning the doubles’ silver medal along with Dewalkar. “I was in a good rhythm before the injury happened in April. We had defeated World Number 12 pair in the Indian Open that month and lost to World Number 3 pair by a close margin. But the injury marred my chances to play in further Grand Prixes. The win in Brazil has improved our ranking and we are now eager to break into the top-30. We will play in the Dutch Open and Russia Open before playing some other Grand Prixes in November,” said Chopra, now employed with ONGC.