How HS Prannoy overcame health issues to reach World Championships quarterfinals

The seasoned Indian campaigner lost to eventual champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore in the quarterfinals

By Olympic Channel Writer

After a tough couple of years, seasoned campaigner HS Prannoy resurfaced as he reached the men's singles quarterfinals of the recently-concluded World Championships. It was a moment to savour for the Delhi-shuttler as he overcame health issues before recording the fine run.

He was diagnosed with a gastroesophageal reflux disease (a digestive ailment in which stomach acid or bile irritates the food pipe lining) during the 2018 World Championships, which marred his training ever since. But things became worse when he tested positive for Covid-19 in November 2020 and has been struggling for peak form.

“Post COVID, the lining of my lungs got inflamed, I had constant cough and I had to rule everything out, meaning, if there was any muscle related injury," Prannoy told PTI.

“I’ve always been in pain. When there are long rallies, when you are gasping for breath, you are pushing the muscles and air flow. There is friction in the lining, it hurts."

India’s HS Prannoy

However, his session with a specialist in September, helped him to recover from the effects of the dreaded virus.

“We confirmed that it was an inflammation in the lung, medication was not recommended, only way out is natural healing. So I tried breathing exercises, made changes to my diet, which anyway I had to as I had gut issues earlier," he said. “The breathing sessions helped, it made a difference and I am 30-40 per cent better, I have been feeling better."

Despite the health issues, Prannoy proved that he had the game to beat some of the best in the world. He overcame Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Viktor Axelsen, in the Indonesia Master quarterfinals.

"That felt good, it has been long that I played a good match. He has been extremely consistent. There were patches when it could have ended in straight games but I hung on and did what needs to be done," he said.

It reflected on his performance at the World Championships as he featured in the last eight.

“It was a tough draw, I played some good matches in the first few rounds. It was going to be tough to win a medal from the bottom half but I’m proud of what I could do this week," Prannoy said.

The World No.26 is now focused to give his best at the India Open and Syed Modi International. At the India Open, which will be held in New Delhi from January 11-16, he will take on Spain's Pablo Abian in the opener.

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