HS Prannoy ended the long wait and ensured the first BWF World Tour title for him. The Kerala shuttler prevailed over Weng Hong Yang of China in an energy-sapping one hour 34 minute final 21-19, 13-21, 21-18 to clinch the Malaysia Masters BWF Super-500 title in Kuala Lumpur last week. Prannoy is the first Indian man to win the Malaysia Masters after its inception in 2009.
This is also the first singles title of the season for India. As the Indian fans waited with bated breath after both players were locked at 18-18, Prannoy fired three smashes, two to the right and one to the left of his opponent to seize the crown. “I think there are just too many emotions as such because the last six years were too much of a roller coaster ride for me and I really didn’t expect this to happen after six years. To be honest, if you had asked me in 2017, I don’t think I would have told you that in 2023 I would be winning a Super 500. I want to thank all the coaches and the support staff. I think we have worked really, really hard and the result is showing,” Prannoy said after the victory.
“It’s too many emotions as such and then you are excited to come out there and play in front of such a big crowd. The draw was really tough for me and had really tough matches as I had to dig really deep,” he added. The hard-hitting 30-year-old battled several peculiar health issues all through his career and despite possessing loads of talent was undone by untimely injuries, which at times looked threatened to finish off his career.
While his friends Kidambi Srikanth, Sai Praneeth and Parupalli Kashyap won titles, Prannoy was slowed down by injuries. For a long time he struggled with problem of sweat foot that affected his movement on the court. During the World Championships in 2018 he suffered from gastroesophageal reflux disease. He took a long time to recover and when it looked like things were moving well he contracted Covid-19 in November 2020. Though many of his fellow shuttlers recovered well, Prannoy suffered from the after-affects of the infection as the lining of his lungs got inflamed. Even though age was not on his side he never lost hope and played a few fabulous matches to power India to the top of the Thomas Cup podium last year. The victory at Kuala Lumpur will help Prannoy realise his dream of competing in the Olympics.