Resilience, Belief, Will Power — Parupalli Kashyap with the backing of these three most important aspects did something that no Indian in the last 14 years could do. Coming from behind, he conquered the reigning World number 1, Chinese Chen Long, to reach the semi finals of Indonesia Open 2015.
After P.V Sindhu crashed out of the tournament in the early first round, losing to Chinese Taipei’s Ya Ching Hsu, and Saina Nehwal lost in the quarter finals to her old rival, Chinese Shixian Wang. Kashyap has kept the Indian hopes high.
After a stronger start by Long who is seen as a strong contender for the 2016 Rio Olympics, Kashyap fell behind. However, the zealous Indian shuttler couldn’t be put down. He came back roaring, finding answers to his Chinese opponent’s tricky questions, and winning the match.
Before coming to the match, Chen Long was leading 7-1 in head to heads against Kashyap, but the latter certainly didn’t let records take over his mind.The only victory that Kashyap acquired from Long was amazingly in 2012 at this very tournament.
With this fresh triumph, the 28-year-old star has become only the second Indian after his coach, Pullela Gopichand to grab a win over the current World number 1. Gopichand won over Peter Gade in 2001 en route to his All England win.
Kashyap has been on a roll recently. He won the gold medal at 2014 Commonwealth games Glasgow after settling with bronze at the last edition in 2010 that was held in New Delhi, India.
Kashyap has been living with an underdog status for quite a long time – hanging in there with his passion. His shots look better, and improved – sharp, fast, and accurate at the net. Mental power that is the key factor behind resilience is a major asset of any sportsperson, and he finally seems to have found that.
A string of major international events are lined up to unfold this month, and eventually the year. If Kashyap continues to play like he has been, he can certainly jump inside the Top 10 ranking from his current 12th.