After trying hands at swimming, athletics and gymnastics, a young Bhamidipati Sai Praneeth was inspired by his aunt - a former national level badminton player - to take up the sport. Since then, he has left no stone unturned to forge himself into a formidable shuttler.
After turning heads with his impressive displays at U-13 and U-16 tournaments, Praneeth was the among the first few players at the renowned Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad back in 2008.
Following just two years of practice under Gopichand, Praneeth made his arrival on the global stage. He had his career’s first significant international achievement when he won bronze at the BWF Junior World Championships in Mexico at the age of 18.
From then, the Hyderabadi shuttler has shown steady growth in his game by winning major events and stood tall against world-class players. At the 2013 Indonesia Open, Praneeth scripted a phenomenal win when he defeated badminton legend Taufik Hidayat in a three-game thriller.
Three years later, he beat three-time Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei at the All England Open, in Birmingham, before ending the season on a high with a gold at the South Asian Games and his maiden Grand Prix title at the Canada Open.
The run continued in the following year as he clinched BWF Superseries title at the Singapore Open. He now joins the ranks of Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth. After a drab 2018 season, Praneeth clinched a bronze medal at the 2019 BWF World Championships. He is the second Indian men’s shuttler to achieve the feat since the legendary Prakash Padukone (in 1983).
Age - 28
Sports/Discipline - Badminton
Working Ranking - 15
First Olympic Games - 2020
— Silver - Men’s singles, 2019 Swiss Open
— Bronze - Men’s singles, 2019 BWF World Championships
— Gold - Men’s singles, 2017 Thailand Open
— BWF Super Series title - Men’s singles, 2017 Singapore Super Series
— BWF Grand Prix title – Men’s single, 2016 Canada Open
Gold - Mens’ singles, 2016 South Asian Games
Bronze - Men’s singles, 2016 Asian Team Championships
Tokyo Olympics Qualification
Praneeth has maintained his World No. 15 ranking to qualify for his first-ever Olympics. The Arjuna Awardee will hope to return home with a medal.
The 28-year-old Hyderabadi has enjoyed a decent form so far in the resumed BWF 2021 calendar. However, after having to withdraw from the BWF series in Thailand, he quickly bounced with a quarter final finish at the 2021 Swiss Open, which got counted as an Olympic-qualifier.
At the All England Open in 2021, he progressed to the pre-quarters in Birmingham as well. However, he was defeated in the Round of 16 match against World No. 2 Viktor Axelsen.