TOPIC – The quartet of hope


Coming as it did after some ordinary showings in the Olympic year, the performances of K. Srikanth, Lakshya Sen and H.S. Prannoy in the recent BWF World badminton championship provided the proverbial ‘silver lining’. The trio, ranked between 14 and 19 in the world, gate crashed into the quarterfinals, before young Lakshya claimed the bronze and Srikanth gave the country its first world silver in men’s singles. This heartwarming display lessened the disappointment following defending women’s champion P.V. Sindhu’s quarterfinal loss. In fact, the true magnitude and timing of the performance of these men could be understood better when seen against the backdrop of the failed crop of Indian teen talent in the past decade. If no serious talent has emerged in the last decade among the ladies, the recent rise of Lakshya is an exception in the dismal scenario in men’s singles. A closer look reveals that India has only one serious pair each in men’s doubles and women’s doubles but none in mixed doubles. For all the government funding in badminton from the days leading to the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the present scenario fails to inspire confidence. In addition, the fitness concerns of Saina Nehwal and B. Sai Praneeth leave Indian badminton in a serious quality crunch. Given this background, what Srikanth, 28, and Lakshya, 20, achieved in Huelva, Spain, was very significant. With COVID related restrictions playing havoc with the training and competition schedules of the players worldwide, it was great to see the Indians getting their act together on the big stage and returning with two medals. Lakshya was indeed a revelation on his way to the semifinal before losing to Srikanth. In fact, he led his senior compatriot in the deciding game but Srikanth’s experience made the decisive difference. Personally, for Srikanth, the silver was worth its weight in gold. Without a significant international title since 2017, the former World No. 1 has fought poor form and fitness for a long time. Once the Indonesian coach, Mulyo Handoyo, the trainer of former Olympic champion, Taufik Hidayat, left India in December 2017 before completing his term as a coach, Srikanth’s career graph nosedived. The recent confidence building performance and the prospects of Mulyo returning to India to take charge of coaching in the New Year should rejuvenate Srikanth. Lakshya should be hungry after exceeding expectations and making his presence felt on one of the sport’s biggest stages. He needs to pay more attention to his fitness. Prannoy and Praneeth, both 29 and semifinalists at the 2010 World junior championship, are still keen to realize their potential. In all, the quartet sure holds hope in the upcoming season.


The Hindu Editorial Words with meanings, synonyms, and antonyms 

Emerged (verb) – Move out of or away from something and become visible

Synonyms – Emanate, transpire, reveal, ensue, hover

Antonyms – Evanesce, submerge, dissipate, deteriorate, dwindle


Dismal (adjective) – Causing a mood of gloom or depression

Synonyms – Somber, grim, dreary, bleak, desolate

Antonyms – Admirable, terrific, sublime, striking, stellar


Crunch (noun) – A critical state of affairs requiring urgent action

Synonyms – Exigency, clutch, scrape, strait, impasse

Antonyms – Serendipity, felicity, assistance, trivia, contentment


Havoc (noun) – Widespread destruction

Synonyms – Ruination, despoliation, obliteration, slaughter, carnage

Antonyms – Erection, salvation, boon, formation, harmony


Revelation (noun) – The making known of something that was previously secret or unknown

Synonyms – Divulgence, utterance, assertion, promulgation, recitation

Antonyms –Disavowal, repudiation, dimness, exclusion, obscurity


Compatriot (noun) – A fellow citizen or national of a country

Synonyms – Burgher, dweller, denizen, urbanite, aborigine

Antonyms – Antagonist, foe, nemesis, archenemy, corrival


 Nosedived (noun) – A sudden or dramatic deterioration or decrease

Synonyms –Plunge, tumble, abatement, plummet, ebbing

Antonyms –Spike, levitate, conquer, escalate, aspire


Prospects (noun) – The possibility or likelihood of some future event occurring

Synonyms –Flair, feasibility, eventualities, aptitude, plausibility

Antonyms –Inadequacy, ineptness, weakness, impotence, inutility


Potential (adjective) – Having or showing the capacity to develop into something in the future

Synonyms –Budding, latent, embryonic, imminent, convergent

Antonyms –Improbable, dubious, absurd, debatable, apocryphal