Chirag Shetty along with Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, are one of the most feared doubles teams on the global badminton circuit. The first men’s doubles pair from India to be ranked in the top-10 of the BWF World Ranking, Shetty and Rankireddy have won many laurels for India at the international stage including Commonwealth Games Gold, World Championship bronze and Thomas Cup triumph.
Ahead of the National Games 2022, we spoke to Chirag Shetty about his career so far and the bond that he shared with Satwik.
Here are the excerpts:
Q. Satwik and you will represent different states and will rather team up against each other. Tell us about it and how much will you miss him?
A. Definitely. We are used to being together for all the interviews. So yeah, I am missing him. Because, this time the focus is national games and we are representing our respective states.
This is the only time we will be competing for different States, I think it will be completely different competing against each other because usually we are on the same side of the court. So yeah, this time it will be quite interesting. I am representing Maharashtra and he is representing Andhra.
Q. Tell us about the camaraderie that you and Satwik share.
A. The one that we shared is well documented (Giggles). I think everybody knows how good friends we are on and off the court. I think I’ve always said that to be really good players on court you need to have a strong bonding off court as well. And I think both of us try to spend as much time as possible off the court as well to know each other better. I think that’s one of the reasons why we were able to do what we’ve done!
Q. Does your friend and relative give you advice regarding playing singles? If yes, how do you deal with it?
A. Well yeah, I think it’s quite a common thing to happen in India, especially because they keep asking me too. “Why you usually only play doubles and not play singles, because I think you can actually play singles quite well”. But not many people know that doubles in badminton is a specialisation, and the ones who play doubles, they only play doubles, whereas the ones who play singles, they only play singles. And usually, you wouldn’t see a singles player playing doubles and a doubles player playing singles. So, it’s difficult to make them understand. But we just usually nod our heads and say that, yeah, maybe next time we’ll try.
Q. Tell us about the role of Mathias Boe in your development and Indian badminton as a whole.
A. Since the time he joined us, the doubles department has done phenomenally well starting with the Thomas Cup victory followed by the Commonwealth Games and also the World Championships. And not just us, but even our second pair, Dhruv Kapila and Arjun, played a quarterfinal. It was the first time two Indian players were playing in the quarterfinals at the World Championships, and I think it’s remarkable. It’s all because of the efforts that Matthias has been putting in for the past six months.
Q. What do you think the Government should do to promote sports in the country?
A. Well, right now everything is going in the right direction if we talk off sports. It has been phenomenal. I remember our PM asking us after the Olympics to spare some time and meet young kids of different schools near our local areas, districts etc and promote fitness and sports there. And this is implemented too. So, I am satisfied.