Badminton: Yogendran pumped up for world meet debut

KUALA LUMPUR: Independent shuttler K. Yogendran is living his dream at 34.

Yogendran, who didn’t quite make the grade in his 10 years with the national team before quitting in 2008, can’t wait to make his debut in the World Championships in Glasgow, Scot­land, from Aug 21-27.

He has qualified for the mixed doubles with India’s Prajakta Sawant. They paired up in January last year.

And the world No. 43 pair, boosted by the Fleet International Holdings Sdn Bhd’s sponsorship deal yesterday, intend to prove that they are no pushovers when they take on the heavyweights of world badminton.

“We’re proud to have qualified for the world meet on merit,” said Yogendran at the sponsorship signing ceremony here yesterday.

“We do not want to be in Glasgow just to make up the numbers. Prajakta and I have prepared well and are looking to repay the sponsor’s faith in us.

“We are really grateful that Fleet has come on board to back us. A trip to Glasgow is not cheap. It costs us about RM35,000,” added Yogendran, who is also the head coach of the Petaling Jaya-based New Vision Badminton Academy (NVBA).

Yogendran-Prajakta will face Taiwan’s Lu Ching-yao-Yang Po-han in the opening round. If they get past the world No. 26 Taiwanese, they will be up against 15th seeds Pranaav Jerry Chopra-N. Sikki Reddy of India next.

Yogendran-Prajakta lost to the world No. 20 Pranaav-Sikki when they last met in the quarter-finals of the Syed Modi International in January.

Yogendran and his Indian partner, who won the Mauritius International in June, will have plenty to play for in Glasgow as Fleet has promised them a performance bonus.

They are set to earn RM20,000 if they make it to the quarter-finals, RM50,000 for the semi-finals and RM100,000 for making the final.

Yogendran-Prajakta are not the only beneficiaries of Fleet’s RM300,000 one-year sponsorship deal.

Former international Goh Giap Chin is the other notable name among the 10 NVBA players to receive the financial backing.

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