From a baby prodigy to turning into certainly one of at this time’s prime stars, Kunlavut Vitidsarn’s speedy rise in worldwide badminton has sparked Thailand’s Olympic medal hopes forward of subsequent 12 months’s Paris Video games.
The one participant to win a hat-trick of males’s singles titles on the World Junior Championships, Vitidsarn emerged because the world quantity 8 participant after a sequence of constant runs in world tour occasions.
He reached the summit conflict on the World Tour Finals in 2021, earlier than successful the German Open Tremendous 300 final 12 months however his massive second got here when he took the silver medal on the World Championships in Tokyo in August.
“I’m pleased with my efficiency however each event I’ve to continue learning. Generally I make errors simply. However there isn’t any stress,” mentioned Vitidsarn after defeating Ng Ka Lengthy Angus of Hong Kong, 21-13, 21-13 within the opening of the India Open final Wednesday.
“Right this moment is the primary day, I wish to check the situations. I believe I’ve good management. I am just a little drained generally however that is okay.” Not way back, Vitidsarn traveled to international locations like Nepal, Bangladesh and India in his early days of 2018, competing in low-ranking worldwide sequence and challenges.
“It is a step up from the junior days. It was a global problem earlier than, now it is Tremendous 500s and 750s, so I am enjoying lots of prime gamers. I am nonetheless studying the best way to play common tournaments and management of issues.
“You need to prepare exhausting, then you may management all the pieces on the court docket,” he mentioned.
Vitidsarn is a part of the 2018 junior batch, which incorporates India’s Lakshya Sen (12) and Japan’s Kodai Naraoka (6) — each of whom are within the prime 15.
In truth, he captured his first World Tour title by defeating Sen within the last of the German Open final 12 months.
“Kodai (Naraoka) and Lakshya (Sen) are superb. However I haven’t got a lot stress. I take into consideration my efficiency and the best way to enhance myself. Each of them are quicker and higher than me,” mentioned the Thai shuttler.
Whenever you level to his silver medal on the World Championships final 12 months, he smiles and says, “I am fortunate.” With an all-round sport, Vitidsarn emerged as the largest star from Thailand in males’s singles since five-time Olympian Boonsak Ponsana.
Vitidsarn might have grow to be the second singles participant from Thailand to win a World Championship gold after Ratchanok Inthanon went to Tokyo final 12 months.
It was Viktor Axelsen, who denied him glory. The world no. 1 Dane proved to be a throne in his flesh, beating him in three finals — 2020 Spain Masters, 2021 Swiss Open and 2021 World Tour Finals.
So Axelsen is invincible? “Effectively, it’s totally troublesome for me and the opposite gamers however I’ve to attempt all the pieces and it is okay if I lose, I wish to study,” Vitidsarn mentioned.
Vitidsarn took up badminton after always having allergy symptoms as a baby.
“I had allergy symptoms once I was younger. When it is chilly generally I nonetheless have allergy symptoms however general, I am okay,” he mentioned.
His father was a badminton coach and it was due to his insistence that he took up the racquet sport. He has not regarded again since then as his well being improved and he additionally achieved success.
Her youthful sister Sarunrak Vitidsarn, simply 15, has already set the court docket on hearth, successful the U-17 Asia Junior Championships gold by beating India’s Unnati Hooda in Thailand.
Sarunrak additionally defeated Hooda within the finals of India Junior Worldwide Grand Prix 2022 in Pune.
“Generally I educate him some issues. I informed him to not push,” Vitidsarn mentioned.
Ask him who’s the higher participant, Vitidsarn shortly solutions: “It is me, me.”