On a day when India’s top badminton players posted first round wins at the Korea Open, the country’s second-best shuttler, Ajay Jayaram, was conspicuous by his absence. The 31st-ranked Bangalorean was scheduled to play China’s Chen Jin in the opening round on Wednesday.
However, a bout of food poisoning he suffered last Friday forced him to withdraw.
The 25-year-old lanky shuttler said that he was getting better and feeling fit ahead of the Maybank Malaysia Open Super Series tournament, which starts in Kuala Lumpur from January 15.
“I had a bad case of food poisoning last Friday and had severe vomiting,” Jayaram said. “I’m feeling good now and practising hard for the past two days.”
Jayaram, who slipped in the rankings after reaching a career best of 23 in September last year, is aiming to break into the top 15 this season. “I need to enter the quarterfinals and semifinals of the big tournaments,” he said.
The gap between Jayaram and Parupalli Kashyap, who pipped him for the London Games, is 17 places at this point.
So what went wrong last season? “I played too many tournaments in the first few months as it was the Olympic year. It was bad planning. Later on, I got a few good results. The aim this year is to be consistent with results,” he said.
Jayaram said that he would leave for Kuala Lumpur this Saturday, acclimatise himself to the conditions, before taking on localite Daren Liew in the first round on January 16. He has won once in the two matches against Liew, ranked 16th in the world.