Badminton: Ajay Jayaram ready to soar high in London Olympics

first_imgAjay Jayaram is close to achieving his dream of competing in the Olympics. He is the highest-ranked Indian shuttler in the men’s singles at 27 followed by Parupalli Kashyap (31).To qualify for the London Olympics, Jayaram has to ensure that he stays ahead of his compatriot till the rankings are freezed on May 3.The Asian Badminton Championships and the India Open Super Series are the two upcoming tournaments in which Jayaram will look to maintain his ranking.The soft-spoken Mumbai boy said that though he is trying not to think of Olympic qualification, it is there at the back of his mind.”My focus will be to give my best, but I cannot deny that there is pressure. After all, it is the Olympics and it is the dream of every athlete to compete in the Olympics.” Jayaram told Mail Today.”However, I feel that competing is not enough, winning medals is what counts.”Jayaram has been making waves since 2010, steadily climbing the rankings and leaving behind his compatriots to become the top Indian in singles. “Last year was very good for me. I played well against the world’s top players like Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan and it was a huge morale- booster. After the good results I had last year, I really thought I can qualify for the Olympics.”What I have been lacking is consistency and I am working on my game to be able to beat the top players. I know I have the potential to crack the top-10. I will be striving hard to get there in the next one year.”advertisementJayaram, who is training under English coach Tom John, said he has added the aggressive streak that was missing in his game.”My game is based on deception and I lacked aggressive shots. To compete against the best in the world, you need to have a blend of deceptive shots and aggressive strokes.”My stint with Tom John in Portugal last year has helped me get better. I have been training under him since then. He can make you work hard like an animal and it toughens you up. My fitness has also improved. I know what to expect from my coach once I start preparing for the Olympics. It will be tough but I am prepared to train hard.”While the likes of Jayaram and Kashyap have been floating in the 30s as far as the rankings are concerned, they have not been able to emulate Saina Nehwal and touch the upper echelons. “Mental toughness is very important. Somebody like Saina has been able to go so far because she is mentally very strong. We are not lacking in skills but have to be more consistent and mentally tough to take on the top players.”last_img

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