Chetan Anand

India IND


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Chetan Anand

A three-time Commonwealth Games medallist and a four-time national champion, Chetan Anand was one of the stars of Indian badminton after the turn of the millennium.

Born in Vijayawada on July 8, 1980, Chetan Anand was introduced to badminton by his father Harshvardhan, who played the sport for leisure.

As a kid, Chetan played both cricket and badminton and aspired to be an all-rounder in the former. However, badminton coach Bhaskar Babu spotted a nine-year-old Chetan’s potential at a local tournament and encouraged him to focus on badminton.

The decision was career-defining.

Much of Chetan Anand’s early success came in the doubles. He won the doubles event at the state Under-12 state tournament and finished runners-up in the junior nationals at the age of 10.

Chetan then went on to win the Under-15 national doubles title but was unable to make a mark in the singles. The jinx finally broke at the end of 1998, when a teenaged Chetan Anand won the national junior singles title.

“The title gave me a lot of confidence and I began to focus more on singles from that year,’’ Chetan said later.

The victory also brought him into the national limelight and Chetan Anand was soon approached by the legendary Prakash Padukone, who offered to train him as he transitioned to the senior level.

Chetan Anand took up the offer and was soon sent to train at the World Academy Camp in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a nation known for its badminton prowess.

That experience helped Chetan immensely as he returned a much better player and clinched the singles title at the Asian Satellite Tournament in Bengaluru soon after.

Shuttler Chetan Anand honed his skills in the years to come, as he became renowned for his smooth movement and soft strokes.

He started making his mark internationally, though the national title continued to elude him as he twice finished runner-up in 2002 and 2003, losing out both times to Olympian Abhinn Shyam Gupta.

Chetan Anand finally became the national badminton champion in 2004, beating Arvind Bhat and rose to become the top-ranked player in India. He went on to win his first international title at the Toulouse Open the same year and the Irish and Scottish Opens in 2005.

The Indian badminton player also played in the German League in 2005, which helped Chetan improve his defence and become more well-rounded.

Arguably, his biggest success came at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Chetan Anand had a good run, reaching the semi-finals of the men’s singles before falling to former Games champion Wong Choong Hann.

However, Chetan Anand recovered soon enough to grind out a three-game win over Aamir Ghaffar in the playoff to win the men’s singles bronze. Anand also helped the Indian badminton team, which had stars like Jwala Gutta and Saina Nehwal, to bronze in the mixed team event. He was given the Arjuna Award in 2006.

A period of success followed for Chetan Anand as he became the national champion three more times in 2007, 2008 and 2010. He also became the first Indian to win a Grand Prix event when he triumphed at the 2008 Bitburger Open.

Chetan Anand reached his career-best ranking of world No. 10 in 2009 and in 2010, won his third Commonwealth Games medal – a silver in the mixed team event.

Fitness issues had plagued Chetan Anand throughout his career – which explained his inconsistent spells of form – and his performances tapered off after 2010.

Chetan though still wanted to be involved with the sport and he decided to set up the ‘Chetan Anand Badminton Academy’ in Hyderabad in 2014.

Chetan Anand has served as coach of the Indian badminton team since and has played a crucial role in developing the next generation with his work as a mentor to the junior players.