Perfect Viktor!

Perfect Viktor!

VA has won the Olympic Gold. Even after a few days, he’s posting in SoMe that he can’t believe it. I’m sure he’s going to sleep with this piece of metal around his neck for the next few days. That’s what an Olympic gold can do to sportsmen. Make them crazy!

But there is a very crazy and interesting part of Viktor that I know which I would like to share here. And this will help you all to conclude as to why he deserves this prize.

Many of us who saw Viktor up close while growing as a player in the badminton world tour (the last few years of my career we played in the same tournaments quite often) would vouch for the fact that he is a deserving winner in the Olympics. Why do I say that? Because in his young days, Viktor was obsessed with being perfect in everything he did. He had this thinking that he had to be perfect always and would not settle for anything less on the court or off it.

Early in his career, there were occasions in some matches that he would keep trying to hit a perfect drop shot or a perfect service even if it was not coming on that day, in the match. He was so adamant that he did not mind losing matches and was always questioning himself why a certain shot had not been executed properly. Many people and coaches told him that it’s okay not to be perfect in matches and to play safe etc., but he seemed to be bullheaded. He challenged himself to be perfect.

Sometimes in tournaments, I would briefly chat with his father, who doubled up as his manager, and he would mention this to me. “Viktor is looking for perfection all the time! Even in matches. I don’t know whether it’s right or wrong. But I will let him do it”, he would say. Viktor is known to be a very nice person, and I think this is a character he picked from his father.

If you cut to the present days, you will see Viktor attaining perfection. What he set out to achieve in his teens has been accomplished. He’s won Olympic gold, WC gold, and All England gold. He’s been world no. 1. too.

His high arm action is one of the most perfect racquet action in modern badminton. His action while he executes the shots is almost notebook style. Perfect! He has the best possible foot movements and a wonderful defense. In fact, this was on show in the finals against Chen Long. If Viktor’s defense was not rock solid that day, Chen Long had enough in him to stage a comeback. Added to that, whenever Viktor got a lift, he would put it down the court in an almost unreturnable smash flooring the shuttle.

All this has not been achieved overnight. It’s the hard work plus the smart hard work. That means in every session Viktor would have to obsess over hard work plus put his mind in, to obsess over perfection.

Many, including myself, would agree VA is a gentleman off the court. Always courteous enough to wish friends and have a cool chat. He’s learned Mandarin too, and you could see this in his friendly banter with Chen Long after the finals. He has gained many fans just because of this affable character. I have a video of Viktor chatting with my 4-year-old son when he played for the Bengaluru team in PBL, where I am the coach. It’s a treasured moment for my family. This was after he lost a match. These are tough moments as a player, but VA would always put his best face in front.

Congratulations, Viktor on achieving the impossible task of Perfection. That’s your biggest achievement!