Balancing sports and academics with ease

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When returning to his busy academic schedule in Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) on Sunday, badminton player Midhilesh Sunder V. was proud of captaining the Kozhikode team and winning the senior inter-district title to Kozhikode after a 17-year-long gap.

What makes him proud is not the victory. For much of the last two years, badminton in Kozhikode was left out in dark due to lack of a training centre. The indoor stadium had been closed for renovation and the players had to depend on the single-court private clubs for training. However, the hard work has paid back and now, Kozhikode team is the reigning champions in the seniors category.

“Beating Ernakulam was difficult. We won the championship for 3-2. We were trailing 2-1 and last two games decided the title,” says a jubilant Midhilesh Sunder.

Ask him what has contributed the most towards winning and he replies, “During Onam vacation, we used to train everyday for three sessions. Before starting the training, we had this conviction to get the team's title. The high levels of team spirit and the hard work paid back.”

“The last two matches — one singles and doubles, in the title match were the most important as we were trailing by one point. Allaying any apprehensions, in both the matches, we won the title,” he says.

Now pursuing a management course at CUSAT, Midhilesh started his badminton career 12 years ago. His dad, the veteran badminton player S. Venugopal has been his inspiration behind taking up badminton seriously.

“From childhood, my father supported me a lot. He used to take to me to watch his play and I was attracted by his game,” he says. He was the junior State singles champion in 2006 and the Calicut University individual champion in 2007.

Under his captaincy, the Calicut University team won a number of tiltes such as All India Inter-university Badminton Championship in 2009 and South Zone inters University Championship in 2010. He has also been the senior district champion for the past five years.

Midhilesh, who is also a rank holder in BBA in Calicut University, is trying to balance sports and academics. “Though my current course eats up a lot of time, I have never missed a single training session. However, the considerable increase in the number of tournaments I participate is not giving me adequate time to study,” he says.

The 22-year-old who is preparing for the nationals to be held in November is concerned about his exams, which would also be held in the same month, expressing his worries.

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