A synergy of mental and physical strength, Pranaav Jerry Chopra is going places in badminton, one of the few sports in which the Indians have been able to match the very best. A unique amalgam of flair and character, the 24-year-old shuttler is taking the game by storm in the men’s doubles and the mixed doubles – his latest achievement being the gold medal win, with Sikki Reddy, at the 2016 Russia Grand Prix Open.
In a sport where the likes of Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth and P Kashyap have made their presence felt in singles, Chopra has chosen a different turf for himself. The Ludhiana lad enjoys playing doubles, and is making a mark with different partners in this category.
Chopra’s tryst with the sport began at the Sutlej Club in Ludhiana, his hometown, with his father when he was just seven years old. “I got hooked to the sport, but it was a two-year stint with coach Uday Pawar in Mumbai that transformed my game,” says Chopra. “In 2008, I joined Gopichand Badminton Academy and started competing on the international circuit.”
Speaking about his performance in the current year, which has turned out to be exceptionally good for him, Pranaav said it had been great so far. “I have performed well in PBL and the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold. I also won a bronze at the Badminton Asia Team Championship. I won the mixed doubles gold at the Brazil Open and the Russian Grand Prix Open. So it has been a quite satisfying year so far,” said the shuttler, who was part of the Indian team that stunned China 3-2 in the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Hyderabad.
“It was a great win. It always feels good when you beat powerhouse like China,” said Chopra, who has forged a great alliance with Akshay Dewalkar in the men’s doubles since 2011.
“Playing together for so many years has really helped. We have developed a certain kind of understanding with each other and that helps during matches,” said Chopra.
Meanwhile, his father MK Chopra feels Pullela Gopichand is the best thing to have happened to his son. “He’s hooked to the game since his childhood and we have been supporting him to pursue his passion. His achievements are a matter of pride for us as well as the city,” said the proud father.
Russia Grand Prix Open--2016
Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold –2016
Bronze in Asia Badminton Team Championships – 2016
Gold medal in team event, Gold medal in mixed doubles, Silver medal in men’s doubles in SAF Games held in Shillong 2016
Bronze medal in doubles in Youth Commonwealth Games, Pune
Gold in doubles in the Fajr Senior International Challenge Cup, in Tehran, Iran
Gold in the Tata International Challenge event, Mumbai, in 2011
Silver in men's doubles in Swiss International Challenge, Bern, Switzerland