The prodigy is aiming to get into the top 25 in mixed doubles.

It has been a good season for Ishaan Bhatnagar first winning the BWF 300 Syed Modi event and then going on to play the prestigious All England Championship and World Championships. He had good junior seasons to start, winning the U19 National tournaments and transitioning well to the senior set-up.

Ishaan Bhatnagar presently ranks in the top 30 of the Mixed doubles category along with Tanisha Crasto and is the No. 1 seed from India as well. We got a chance to interact with the upcoming star from Chattisgarh. In an exclusive chat with Khel Now, the shuttler talked about his journey this season and his upcoming goals.

How did you take up Badminton initially and what was the reason for choosing doubles over singles?

I (Ishaan Bhatnagar) took up the sport by looking at my father’s play when I was 6 years old and slowly started playing from there on. Initially started playing the singles but the results were more prominent in the doubles. Also, it was not like I was bad in singles but wanted to get more specific towards men’s and mixed doubles.

What specific changes do you make while playing the men’s doubles with Sai Pratheek and the mixed doubles with Tanisha Crasto?

Both events have specific practice sessions and game plans. In the mixed event, there are two men and two females while in men’s all the four are men which makes a large difference. In a week I practise for 3 days focussing on men’s doubles and the next 3 days for mixed. Sundays are generally off.

You started the season playing the Indian Open, the All England Championships and then the World Championships. What assessment would you make out of this season having played most of the major events?

This season 2022 has made a major difference in my life. Started the season by winning the BWF Syed Modi Super 300 which made me more confident and believe that I can achieve something big in the future too. Taking part in my 1st All England Championships and the World Championships also was a great experience and these tournaments help me get better.

To be more precise this was also my first international season having taken part in most of the major BWF tours.

How was it playing Praveen Jordan and Oktiavanti from Indonesia twice this year (2022)?

The first meeting was at the All England Championships where we couldn’t perform well but was a good learning curve. The next time we met was at the Indonesian Masters where we lost again. But this time we gave them a good fight taking the game to 3 sets and playing more confidently. The major learning was how to control my emotions playing in front of a huge crowd and with home support.

Any specific goals for the next season and with Paris Olympics 2 years ahead?

I have a short-term goal that is to get to the top 25 in mixed doubles which is presently at 30 and in men’s get to the top 40.

Who are your role models in Badminton?

Watanabe from Japan is my role model and from India, I look up to Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy. Also, we practise together every day and learn a lot which can be seen through my gradual improvements. Practising against a top-quality pair is always a big boost. There is also Dhruv Kapila and MR Arjun who are ranked World No. 23 and have also shown great results this year.

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