Rohan Gurbani, lone ranger among the Nagpur boys on the national badminton circuit

NAGPUR: It's not easy being a lone ranger. Against all odds, he or she has to fight and direct the show. Rohan Gurbani He has been sailing in the same boat. The handsome teenager is the only city boy shining nationwide in recent years.

Contrary to the female category where there are at least half a dozen city players who leave their mark on the national and international circuit, Rohan, 17, is alone on the big stage when it comes to children.

Establishing himself as probably the best player of his age in the country, Rohan finished second in the men's singles under 19 during the 44th recently concluded National Junior Badminton Championship in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh.

Starting as a ninth seed, Rohan was on a mission to kill giants last week and reached the final without losing a single game.

At the summit clash with his training partner of the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy, Rohan played out of his skin and gave a great scare to the best seed, Maisnam Meiraba.

The young man from Manipur stretched completely and overcame the energetic challenge of the Nagpur boy to achieve a hard 21-18, 21-19 in 54 minutes to get the title.

With an Air India scholarship in recent months, Rohan impressed everyone with his exhibition, including Utsav Mishra. The head coach of Air India and former Indian pilot Mishra praised Rohan and believed it would be the turning point of his career.

The National Juniors that has just concluded will definitely add a lot to Rohan's confidence. Before the tournament as he told me about his back pain, at that moment I just told him to go one by one as and when he comes. Only the best approach to leave on points instead of even thinking about the match. This helped him not to take any pressure to match, said Mishra TOI on Saturday.

In the pre-quarterfinals, Rohan surprised the second seed K Sathish Kumar in consecutive games 21-14, 22-20, which greatly increased his confidence.

Since link was slow so the idea was to push Sathish in a corner and then get the point. I told him to just keep shuttle in play. It worked very well. In the quarters against his PAL Dhruv Rawat practice, the strategy was different and I asked Rohan to hook his opponent in long points.

Dhruv lost control and gave Rohan the game 21-17, 21-11, said Mishra, one of only two players he had defeated. Gopichand pulley in India during their game days. Filled with condifence, Roahn demolished his semi-final rival Bidya Sagar Salam 21-11, 21-9 quite easily to reach his inaugural final.

One could see pressure on Rohan when Bidya got a couple of good wins on his way to the semifinal. Here Rohan executed blows well and well against Bidya, who is basically a defensive player and loves to face his opponents in long demonstrations. Those sharp punches gave Rohan's superior advantage to the game, Mishra added.

In the final, he was going to meet Meiraba, his favorite favorite, who was in excellent shape and also won few international victories in his kitty. Describing the final, Mishra said Rohan did his best but could not get the best of his opponent.

Rohan started the game with few unforced errors and Meiraba got some fine violent breaks in the line. This was the moment when I told Rohan to win or lose is secondary, but they push him to his limits. This really worked and played the best game of his life, Mishra said.

Both the finalists were almost on par and we could see some very beautiful manifestations. Despite the defeat, Rohan was very motivated after the game and I could see the brightness of confidence on his face after the game. Undoubtedly, this tournament is a big boost for Rohan's trust and he will be a changed player in the future, Mishra added.

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