Chennai lad Sankar Muthusamy Subramanian is the new junior world No. 1 in the boys singles category, according to the latest rankings released by the Badminton World Federation (BWF). Sankar is the first shuttler from Tamil Nadu to achieve this feat and fourth Indian boy after Aditya Joshi (Madhya Pradesh) in 2014, Siril Verma of Telangana in 2016 and Lakshya Sen from Uttarakhand in 2017.
Among them only Sen made it big on the senior circuit. Sankar benefited from BWF’s decision to defreeze ranking points this August. Ranking points were frozen after the All England Championships in March 2020 due to the pandemic. Sankar said he was expecting this development. “I am thrilled to become No. 1 at the junior level. We were expecting this as BWF takes three tournaments from the senior category to decide rankings,” said Sankar who was No. 2 a few weeks back.
With Tasnim Mir of Gujarat already the world No. 1 among girls, there are two No. 1s from India at the junior level. Only Saina Nehwal in 2015 and Kidambi Srikanth in 2018 achieved this feat in the senior category. PV Sindhu’s best rank was world No. 2. Eighteen-year-old Sankar trains at the Fireball Academy in Chennai with Aravindan Samiappan. In fact, Aravindan became Sankar’s personal coach 10 years ago. The teen started learning the nuances of the game at Fireball in 2009. Sankar won the Junior White Nights tournament in Russia and the Iran Junior International series in 2021. He finished runner-up to Varun Kapur, another promising shuttler, at the Uganda International.
Sankar’s target is to qualify for the 2024 Olympics. “My aim is to compete in the 2024 and 2028 Olympics. I know it is difficult but I will work hard to achieve that,” said Sankar. Sankar is a huge fan of multiple world and Olympic champion Lin Dan of China. “I love his style and I want to play him,” said Sankar, who is also a southpaw like his idol.