Mumbai boy, on his climb to be the next Badminton Champion – The Story of Shlok Ramachandran
A boy from Mumbai or a player for India - Shlok Ramchandran is an upcoming badminton star who keeps attaching feathers to his cap by winning medals for India in international badminton tournaments. At a mere age of 22 years, he has already won three International tournaments namely, Ethiopia International, Abu Dhabi Apex Elite Championship and Iran Fajr International tournament. Someone who is clearly too mature for his age, Shlok believes that there are no shortcuts to success. Blessed with a supportive family, Shlok was able to multi-task through his badminton career as he also completed his graduation in Mumbai.
|Known As||Shlok Ramchandran|
|DOB||10th March 1995|
|Father’s Name||Manoj Ramachandran|
|Mother’s Name||Mallika Ramachandran|
|imd1 for||Badminton, Sport|
|Place From||Mumbai, Maharashtra|
|Your Quote for life||Live in the moment, just stay calm and strong. Work hard towards all your small goals to achieve a big goal|
Team imd1 had a chat with him a few days ago, read on to know him further!
We are really keen to know, how did your journey begin?
As I recall, I think my journey in sports began when the Goregaon Sports Complex was opened. I was around 8 years of age and lived in Kandivali with my family. They took a membership at the sports complex. My best friend and I started accompanying our fathers as they played badminton there. Initially, we irritated him a lot but, finally our parents decided to put us to our own training in Badminton to avoid us from irritating them. Only reason to take up Badminton was availability coach. It would have taken 6 months to wait for the tennis coach. Time just flew by and I was already trained in badminton for 6 months. Initially, it all started to avoid studies and homework but, gradually I became very serious about it. I didn't understand how I got so serious for it.
What’s your success mantra?
If success is synonymous to one thing, it has to be hard work. According to me, there is no predefined mantra for success. There's no substitute for hard work. You have to do it the hard way and take the long route to it.
What were the hardships / hurdles you encountered and the way you overcame in your journey?
At the age of 12 or 13, I used to be on the heavier side. Again, I had flat feet and it is said, it is a difficult to play with flat feet. Neither was it financially easy. Going to junior college, travelling expenses for tournaments, sport equipments are a hefty expense. You couldn't survive through these without burning a hole in the pocket. I can't thank my parents enough for all the sacrifices they did for me. They took leave from their offices and put their career on hold for my tournaments. It was stern until I joined the under-19 team. At the age of 17, I signed a contract with Air India and it became a bit easy after that.
Otherwise, badminton is an expensive sport to build up and be persistent in. Somehow with good fortune and God's grace, I managed to sway through it all.
|Favourite Personalities||Roger Federer, Lionel Messi and Rahul Dravid|
|Inspirations||Prakash Padukone, Pullela Gopichand, Sanave Thomas and Rupesh Kumar|
|Food I Love||Pizza|
|Food I Hate||Japanese food and Sushi|
|Had I not been a Badminton Player then…||Economics or Sports Journalism|
|Like Vacations at||Norway, Finland, Bali or Bahamas|
|Favourite Pass time||Watch any kind of TV series or Netflix|
|Favourite Dialogue||“Hope is a good thing, may be the best of things and no good things ever die.” “I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you.”|
|Favourite Movies / Series||Game of Thrones and F.R.I.E.N.D.S, Top Gun, Shawshank Redemption, Good Will Hunting|
|Favourite Actor / Actress||Ranveer Singh, Amitabh Bachchan and Alia Bhatt|
Success is incomplete without its share of failures. How should one overcome them to move on?
In order, to get to the main round, we had to win the qualify rounds. I lost in the qualification rounds upto under 16, with all the hard work later on, I qualified for the main round and made it to the Under-17 Team for India. It was 2013, at Junior National Sciences tournament, we were at winning side, but, fate has its own rules and we lost the third game by 18-13. This loss created a big dent in my confidence. I took a lot of time to get over it and accept it. But, I realized that it is not necessary to win always. What matters is the attitude you play it. Whether you win or lose, your attitude should not change. You neither can be too proud of your victory nor too depressed for your loss. You just need to find the right balance. Over the years, I've learned this lesson to the very core. You need to treat yourself the same way and don't underestimate your potential and keeping working hard without any distraction from any result.
Do you think Badminton and its learning can be helpful in life even if one does not want to consider it as a career goal?
I think sports, in general, teaches one a lot. Teamwork is one of the most common habits that cultivates because of sports. It also teaches one to stay grounded and disciplined. Sports inbuilt the habit to stay focused in all your tasks. Sports can help to maintain a good physique and take care of body. I used to be a fat kid but, it is my addiction with sports that transformed me into a fit kid. In general, there's no limit or stopping to where sports can take you. It also makes you a good human being and has lessons at every level.
Who has been your influencer in this journey & how?
It is not one but, many people have inspired me in my journey. First and foremost, it is my father because he influenced me to take up a career in sports. He has put in a lot of efforts to shape my journey. When I was a child, my mother took the responsibility of taking care of my academics while my father took it up on him to take care of my sports requirements and training. He always travelled with me and made sure that I ate the right kind of food to stay fit and healthy. My mom made sure, I didn't lag in studies. Both maintained a perfect balance and made me receive the best of both worlds. So yeah, my parents have been my biggest influencers.
Which was “that” moment when you considered yourself as “I Am The 1”?
There is one special moment. When I made it to the senior team of India, I felt that all the sacrifices that I had done, have finally paid something back to me. Whenever I get to be on the court and play for my country, inside my heart, I feel that “I Am The 1” made for this.
Did you get any formal training and how was that journey?
Initially I started playing badminton in the Goregaon Sports Complex and then I got into coaching under Hubert Miranda from whom I received my formal training. Later, I started my training under Uday Pawar in his academy. He's himself a National Champion. While getting trained by him, I understood more about the game and seriousness that it required. This was the time, I realized how important the sport had become for me. In three years of my training in his academy, Mr. Pawar shaped me into someone who was physically strong to compete. After that, I moved to Prakash Padukone's academy and took my training until I was 18 years of age. Finally, I moved to Pullela Gopichand's academy and was trained there for 5 years.
Could you reflect on the importance of systematic training in Badminton?
Excelling in any sport is next to impossible without systematic training. You ought to get trained in a proper academy under a good coach to reach a good level. Going to the academy plans your schedule well and your life becomes systematic. Stretching and warm up exercises before the training help in smooth flow of the training. This is because that coach not only sets your interest and dedication in the sport but, also sets your basics right.
What are the pre-coaching essentials e.g. Right age, mindset or any other?
The age of 6 or 7 is an ideal age to start playing badminton. We have a lot of academies in India especially in Hyderabad and Mumbai that specifically train kids in badminton. Being able to focus on the sport is also very important.
Technology and scientific training has been changing the way people get trained in Badminton. What’s your take?
There hasn't been a change in the training for badminton because of technology. However, we can watch video clips of our opponents on YouTube. One can be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent through this and hence work smartly to improve his game.
How can one select an ideal ‘Guru’ for getting formal training for Badminton?
As you build trust in your guru and develop a tuning with him, your coach becomes your ideal guru. It is a process of 6 to 7 months and happens over the time. I have trained under various coaches. Over the time, I developed a rapport with each one of them but, that doesn't undermine their importance in my career at any level. Every coach had their separate importance over the years. Trust is the most important criteria in selecting an ideal guru.
What according to you, can be a scope for improvement in training for Badminton in India?
As far as my opinion is concerned, I think we need more coaches for training people in badminton. Even though, it isn't a very big sport like cricket, it needs to have a certain type and quality of infrastructure. From our sports minister to players like Saina Nehwal, everyone has inspired the youth to take up badminton professionally. In the past 10 years, badminton has gained a lot of popularity and undeniably, the sport has great scope.
What do you suggest for better accessibility of Badminton in remote parts of India?
Tying up with schools is the most basic step to promote the spread of badminton. Making the sport reach the grassroots by creating awareness can help increase the know-how and thus, accessibility of the sport.
In your opinion, what are the basic key traits apart from formal training that make “imd1”?
I want to say just two words - Determination and hard work. You need to take the long route and not easy shortcuts. Stay calm while you get through it and work immensely hard for the goal.
Your piece of advice to parents and new generation especially when some people are skeptical about career in extra curriculum.
I'd like to tell the parents that it would be great to involve their children in some sport activity or the other because it will inculcate the habit of fitness in them which will be beneficial for them in the long run. Sports indirectly will teach them a lot of life lessons.
One thing which you feel you want to change from the past while you walk down memory lane…
It's been a truly amazing journey with its own ups and downs. All the events and occurrences of my life are responsible to make me who I am today.