National games badminton: Experienced Sourabh Verma confident of challenging young brigade for gold
The 30-year-old clinched the men’s singles title in the 2015 edition of the National Games in Kerala.
Three-time men’s singles national champion, Sourabh Verma, may have been out of the national team contention for a while, but the 30-year-old is determined to prove that he is still a formidable player as he sets his sights on securing his second National Games gold at the Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium.
This marks Verma’s third appearance at the National Games. In his initial appearance in 2011, he contributed to the state’s team bronze, and another medal in Goa would solidify his reputation as one of the sport’s domestic giants.
Verma, who clinched the men’s singles title in the 2015 edition of the Games in Kerala, commenced his campaign in the 37th National Games with a 21-16, 22-20 victory in the opening round.
“My preparation for the National Games has been comprehensive, involving consistent participation in various tournaments, and I eagerly anticipate facing the young talent here,” said Verma, who achieved a career-best world ranking of 28 in December 2019.
His international achievements include titles at the Russian and Dutch Open in 2018, as well as the Hyderabad Open and Vietnam Open in 2019.
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Currently ranked 65th in the world, Verma considers his first National title in 2011 as the most cherished moment of his career. In the same year, he made his international debut with a triumph at the Bahrain International Challenge. His remarkable journey continued with a runner-up finish at the India Open Grand Prix, narrowly losing to former Olympic champion Taufiq Hidayat.
When asked about potential challengers in the tournament, Verma remarked, “The young players have been impressing with their performances. Every match will be challenging, and no opponent can be taken lightly.”
Highlighting the significance of the National Games as a platform for players to shine on the national stage, Verma emphasized that multi-sport events like badminton add another dimension to representing one’s state, and young athletes can draw from this experience while competing in major international tournaments.