At a time when most children his age are spending their afternoons home watching cartoons on television in the ongoing summer vacations,9-year old Vikas Yadav is busy tormenting shuttlers as much as six years his senior at the ongoing Pt Tirath Ram Banarsi Das Memorial badminton tournament. Not only does he win his matches at Thyagaraj Stadium,he does it so convincingly, emerging victorious instraight games with only one opponent taking a game to double figures.
For the record,Yadav played three matches in the space of two hours on Monday,both in the U-13 and U-15 category while winning 15-3 15-3 in the first,15-0 15-4 in his second and 15-4 15-10 in his third match. He has now qualified for the fourth round in the U-13 category while also reaching the third round in the U-15 category.
At least initially,when Yadav took the court in third match in the U-15 category,the pairing seemed unfair,with the 9-year-old dwarfed by his opponent. Yadav though says the sight of a physically stronger opponent never bothers him. I am never afraid playing anyone because I know I have to win. And today also,it was to make sure that I play my natural game, said Yadav.
And while it is true that many young shuttlers punch above their weight they have the benefit of having started at a far younger age than their compatriots. What impresses about Yadav,who combines fine placement with power is that he has only been playing the sport for a year. As his father played cricket Yadav too was expected to follow that sport. However despite joining a coaching center,near his house in Ghaziabad,he never found the desire to take the field. Instead,he followed on his brothers footsteps to develop himself as a shuttler. The first day I went to the cricket field,the coach over there asked me come the next day. The next day never came. I started learning badminton from my elder brother,now 11,and eventually joined Ajay Kanwar sirs coaching center. I love playing smashes and I know I can score a lot of points, added Yadav,a student of fifth standard in Sunshine School.
Yadav is way ahead of those his age in terms of maturity both on and off the court. While he was speaking with Sportline,one of his friends – competing in the same age group as he was bought snacks soon after losing his match. Despite being asked to share in the meal,Yadav refused to consume the fried stuff.
It is very important to have good diet. My coach tells me that. If I dont eat well I wont be able to survive three or four matches a day. Although I dont get fatigued but my aim is to become the best. For that I will have to refrain from all this, Yadav explains.
Despite his strong showing on Monday,Yadav isnt getting too ahead of himself. The first tournament I played,I won it in the U-10 category. But since I am participating in the U-13 and U-15,my aim is semis, said Yadav who has reached the last four stage in those levels in previous tournaments.