Anger, overthinking and losing cool were one of many personality traits 17-year-old Varun Kapur carried with him two years ago while playing badminton.
Now ranked world no. 2, Kapur says he has shred them to be a contrast version of himself from two years ago.
In the Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings released on Tuesday, Kapur secured the world no. 2 ranking in the under-19 boys’ single category.
For Kapur, it is his best achievement so far.
“One of the main things on which I was improving on was my speed on the court. I guess three things – speed, patience, and strength. I am not very strong, I am agile so I have to focus lot on my strength training so I have been training with the fitness coach Kaifi Afzal and mental fitness coach Gayatri Vartak,” Kapur said.
In the year 2020, Kapur stayed inside the top five rankings during most of months, only in December, he was dropped to six as he was not able to play many tournaments due to the pandemic.
A trainee from Nikhil Kanetkar Badminton Academy (NKBA) at the Shiv Chhatrapati sports complex in Balewadi, Kapur has improved by leaps and bounds in the last six years since he started training in Pune.
A prodigy of Nikhil Kanetkar and Mayank Gole, Kapur kept improving year by year and now he aims to transfer the same performance in the senior level tournament.
“The main thing while switching from junior to senior will be motivation. Keeping yourself motivated is tough since you might not get results straight away. It’s all about having belief and self-confidence which is required the most,” added Kapur who will be turning 18 in March this year.
Even though 2020 was marred by the Covid-19 pandemic globally, Kapur managed to play three tournaments. He played the first two in February – Hungarian International Junior Championship where he finished a runner up then in the same month, Kapur played the Dutch Junior International where he could not make it to final and then the Portuguese International Junior where he emerged champion.
“I went to Denmark at the start of October and that was the reason I was allowed to travel to Portugal for the tournament because I was already in Europe. After a long time I was playing the tournament (after February 2020) so in the first round I was very nervous but after a few points you get used to it,” Kapur said.
Exposure to playing tournaments overseas is helping Kapur develop his game and build a unique style of his own.
“It makes you deal with different situations because the game style is different abroad. You have to adopt the game style and it helps you improve your game,” added Kapur who is sponsored by Kanetkar Sports Foundation (KSF), Li-Ning and the Virat Kohli Foundation.