India’s World No 27 shuttler Ajay Jayaram may not have made the cut for the London Olympics, after his second round defeat in the recent India Open Super Series tournament to World No 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia 21-16, 15-21, 21-5, but he’s not willing to brood over his misfortune.
Despite the Mumbai shuttler being India’s top player in the men’s singles category, compatriot Parupalli Kashyap (World No 30) made it to the Games via the same tournament thanks to a walkover in the quarter-finals against Chen Jin of China.
Jayaram admits he would have preferred Kashyap winning his way through. “Qualifying for London Olympics would have been a big achievement for me. But due to an unfortunate turn of events, I couldn’t qualify.
“But I’m glad that my friend Kashyap qualified by reaching the semi-finals. However, I would have been happier had he qualified after beating Chen in the quarters and not through a walkover after Chen suffered a wrist injury.
Top 15 target
“But besides the Olympics, I have others goals to achieve. My immediate aim for this year is to train hard and break into Top 15,” Jayaram told MiD DAY yesterday. The Chembur resident blamed an ankle injury he suffered in January for his dip in form. “Just a day before the Korean Open (January 3-8), I picked up an ankle injury.
But I did not rest enough and continued playing after strapping my foot. As a result of this, the niggle remained and I couldn’t train hard enough for the India Open,” said Jayaram, who had a fine run last year.
“2011 was very good for me. I played well against some of the world’s Top 10 shuttlers. I had some close three-setters against players like Wei, Chen Jin and China’s reigning Olympic champion Lin Dan.
“Even in the India Open, I pulled back a game from Wei, which was a huge morale-booster,” said the 25-year-old. Jayaram, who initially trained at the Prakash Padukone Academy in Bangalore for over half a decade, recently moved out and is now coached by Englishman Tom John in the same city. The move has worked well for him, he felt.
Work to do
“I have benefited a lot after training with John at his academy in Bangalore. He has introduced quite a few changes and has brought in the missing aggressive streak to my game. He has warned me that I still have a lot of work to do.
“I will get back to training with him next week and look forward to starting afresh at the Indonesia Super Series (12-17 June) and Singapore Open (June 19-24),” he signed off.