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Shruti Mishra, Priya Konjengbam are future India stars in doubles: Coach Pradeep Raju

Shruti Mishra and Priya Konjengbam crossed a major milestone by winning the women’s doubles title at the recently concluded Senior National Badminton Championships in Guwahati. Their coach, Pradeep Raju, believes they have the potential to reach even greater heights in the sport. 

Interestingly, Shruti (23) and Priya (22) defeated their fellow trainees from the Suchitra Academy (Hyderabad) in the final, a victory that undoubtedly delighted the Academy’s support staff.

Pradeep, head coach of Suchitra Academy, believes that the National title should be a significant morale-booster for the two shuttlers he feels can go the distance.

“With trainers Siva and Ketan taking care of the physical and strength conditioning aspects, the young talents have entered the decisive phase of their careers to look far beyond the National title,” Pradeep informed Sportstar.

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The coach outlines their headway ever since they paired in July 2023. “The progress has been immensely satisfying as they have won two national-ranking tournaments and a silver before this Senior national doubles title,” he said.

The success of Shruti and Priya is a reflection of the comprehensive support system at Suchitra Academy. They are trained by former All England champion Muhammed Hafiz bin Hashim and Yonatham Dasuki, head of doubles coaching staff, and senior coach Sanyogita, who keep track of everyday progress by the shuttlers. 

“They get a comprehensive critical evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses in their game at the academy,” added Pradeep.

Pradeep is preparing to take the duo to the international stage this year. “Having made a mark at the national level, we look to Shruti and Priya to showcase their talent in international tournaments in 2024,” he said.

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“Essentially, we are targeting 10 international tournaments in 2024 for this doubles combination which is ranked in the top 100 in the world now, as the bigger picture we are looking at is the qualification for the 2028 Olympics,” explained the coach.

The coach envisions a bright time ahead for the duo and dubs them as ‘future India stars’. “Since both these highly talented girls have the desired endurance levels and the game which should make one of the most formidable combinations in the days to come, we look to them as future India stars in doubles,” Pradeep concluded.

Coach emphasises the duo’s focus on women’s doubles, citing their remarkable consistency and compatibility. “Right now, the focus will be only women’s doubles for both of them, given how they have performed, especially in the last four tournaments. The best part is their consistency in improving with each tournament,” he said.

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