His complete set of milk teeth may not have emerged as yet,but at four years of age,Yogansh Singh is very much aware of his future. I want to be a badminton player, he says with a smile. At the ongoing Pt Tirath Ram Banarsi Das Memorial badminton tournament,he is the youngest participant. Wielding the badminton racquet in his tiny hands,Yogansh played against participants several years his senior in the under-13 category.
The result,as one would expected,wasn’t in his favour to start off as he was humbled by the senior who did not break sweat. As soon as the organisers confirmed Yogansh’s exit,the little kid couldn’t hold his tears. But once again,he picked up the racquet to face an opponent,this time in the under-15 category. The result repeated itself,but this time the organisers did the smart thing,not announcing the result of the match. Yogansh continued to play on the sidelines,letting no chance for practice go to waste.
Despite the results,Yogansh is also among those who are blessed with talent. Badminton flows in his blood as his maternal grandfather and uncle both play badminton and now teach him the basics. At this time of summer vacations,one can still find the young shuttler Yogansh at the Punjabi Bagh club courts from morning till evening. I study in preparatory but I don’t like to study. I want to play badminton. I go in the morning where naanu and mamaji make me play badminton. I play a lot of shots. But when the court is vacant,then only I play otherwise I stand at the side alone and watch others play, adds Yogansh,a student of Manavsthali School.
His grandfather Jitendra Kharbanda,who is also a coach at the Punjabi Bagh Club,explains his daily routine. He gives me a call everyday to pick him up for badminton but since it is his vacations,it is not difficult for him to come. But when his school starts,his routine might change to two days a week. But as of now,he comes and shows his desire to play badminton. He might not be good right now but he is a fast learner in his age. We told him certain things like service position,forehand shot,and the drop shot,which he does quite well now. We train him but not so much because he is still a kid and moreover we want him to develop interest. Jitendra also pointed out that once Yogansh improves as a shutler in years to come,they might think of shifting him to the best Indian academies such as the Gopichand Academy or the Prakash Padukone Academy.
His ability to send the shuttle across powerfully might belie his age,but when he speaks,one is quickly reminded of how young he really is. I don’t like playing on wooden court as I don’t like its colour. I only like the green court because my favourite colour is green. We have two courts at the Punjabi Bagh Club,one wooden and one green. I love to play on the green one, Yogansh says. Another instance occurs spot was while he was playing his match. After every point won,Yogansh screamed with his fist punching the air. No one told me this,I learned it myself. I go everyday to practice and all the players do it,so I do it too.