Sergey Sirant still remembers what drew him to badminton as a child.
He’d accompanied his parents to a badminton hall, and what struck him was the sound of the shuttle hitting the racket.
“My parents played badminton once a week when I was young. They took me to the court and I looked at some older players play and I loved it, especially the sound of the shuttle being hit. I remember I liked this sound. And my sister also started playing,” recalls Sirant.
The left-hander has come a long way since then. The highest ranked Russian in men’s singles at No.67, Sirant has been plugging away in the lower tiers of the circuit. Finally, at the YONEX-SUNRISE India Open 2022, he went the furthest he has at an HSBC BWF World Tour Super 500 event, making the quarterfinals. He followed that up with a quarterfinal the next week, at the Syed Modi India International 2022, a Super 300 event.
“It’s my first time in a quarterfinal of a Super 500,” a pleased Sirant said. “I have a low ranking so I haven’t played many Super 500 events, so I’m very happy.”
His goal for this year is to get climb up the rankings to enable him to play more top-tier events. But he acknowledges it will be difficult to achieve given the lack of quality sparring he has in Kazan.
“Last year before the Olympics I trained at the Centre of Excellence in Denmark, but now it’s difficult for us to go to other counties to train because of the paperwork involved.
“I train at my hometown of Kazan. I train with (Evgeniya) Kosetskaya and a few younger players. It’s difficult for me because it’s not strong sparring in men’s singles, and sparring is very important. I will try. I want to win, I have motivation. This year – I want to get up in the world rankings and play in high level tournaments, like the Super 500 and above, maybe a few Super 750 as well.”
Sirant seeks inspiration from Viktor Axelsen and Kento Momota, who, he recalls, are his age.
“I like Axelsen and Momota. We’re the same years, we are from 1994. I will try but in Russia it’s difficult as you don’t have top players.”