I kissed his picture: Shuttler Subhankar Dey remembers childhood coach who died of cancer

Nov 06, 2018, 10:01 IST | Sundari Iyer

India shuttler Subhankar's title in Germany tinged with sadness as he remembers childhood coach Bhattacharya, who succumbed to cancer

I kissed his picture: Shuttler Subhankar Dey remembers childhood coach who died of cancer
Subhankar Dey with his first coach, the late Badal Bhattacharya

Subhankar Dey, 25, who became only the third Indian to topple Chinese great Lin Dan on Thursday, did not end up being a one-match wonder. He capitalised on his sensational victory to clinch the SaarLorLux Open Badminton Championship in Germany on Sunday by beating England's fifth seed Rajeev Ouseph 21-11, 21-14 in just 34 minutes for his first Grand Prix title. His finest hour had a layer of sadness, though, because of the death of his childhood coach, Badal Bhattacharya, who succumbed to cancer a few months ago.

Dedicated to coach
The Indian shuttler dedicated his win to Bhattacharya and his sister Moumita Das. "It has been an emotional win for me. I missed Badal sir the most today as it was his dream to see me do well on the international stage. I would call him after every win. The first thing I did after winning the final was kiss his picture on my phone. And my sister has been my pillar of strength," Dey remarked.

Subhankar Dey
Subhankar Dey

Rejected from training at the P Gopichand academy in Hyderabad, the Kolkata-based shuttler shifted base to Denmark where he plays for Greve Strands Badminton Club in Copenhagen.
Dey was thrilled with his career's first major triumph. "It is the biggest achievement of my life. I am playing really well right now. I hope to be in good shape and I am motivated to perform at the highest level. This is just the beginning for me," an ecstatic Dey told mid-day from Germany yesterday.

Dey had his share of hardships before tasting success. "I ran away from home [in Kolkata] when I was just 14 to play badminton, but was rejected by several top academies in the country. I had just R500 with me when I left home. I then trained a bit with Tom John [former England coach] in Bangalore before moving to Denmark. All I wanted to do is play badminton and I am glad all the hard work has paid off," said Dey, who is employed with Central Railway.

Beating idol Lin Dan
Talking about his victory over Dan, Dey said: "It is strange, but I didn't celebrate after I beat Lin Dan. I just kept my head down, shook hands with him and said thank you. I still can't believe that I defeated him." Dey went into the final match on Sunday with a fearless approach. "I did a lot of homework. I watched his games closely. I was relaxed and had nothing to lose," he said.

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