Former national back-up shuttler V. Roobenraj switched to studies in 2018 after struggling to make a breakthrough in badminton.
But the 23-year-old is making a remarkable comeback — joining the Doha-based New Vision Badminton Sports (NVBS) club, and he will also coach the Qatar national junior team.
To resurrect his badminton career, Roobenraj is ready to accept the challenge.
Roobenraj joined the national set-up in 2017, and trained under Cheah Soon Kit, Jeremy Gan and Rosman Razak in men’s doubles and mixed doubles.
But lack of opportunities saw Roobenraj leave the national team and pursue a diploma in business at a local university.
However, Roobenraj now has an opportunity to go back to the court after the Malaysian Indian Badminton Association (Miba) proposed his name to Qatar Badminton Association who were looking for a junior coach.
“We were contacted by Qatar through a third party looking for a capable junior coach, and we recommended Rooben as he is a talented young player and has also been coaching,” said Miba president Datuk V. Radhakrishnan.
“The one-year contract will not only see him coach Qatar’s juniors but also become a professional player for the NVBS club, and the player accepted the offer without a second thought.
“We hope that he will be able to help Qatar juniors in line with the Gulf nation’s objective to improve the standard of badminton.”
Roobenraj has his work cut out: having to juggle coaching, training (self) and studies.
“It will be hectic but I’m optimistic I will be able to handle the pressure. My diploma will conclude in three months through online, and this will help me focus on my badminton career,” he said.
“Qatar’s junior team training is based at the NVBS club, and this will make it easy for me to coach them and also focus on my training after those sessions.
“I hope to produce one or two players who can be the best in the Gulf region, and eventually have the quality to compete with other Asian shuttlers.”
As for his playing career, Roobenraj plans to find a doubles partner and start competing in smaller international tournaments as he doesn’t have a world ranking to play in the BWF World Tour.
“My goal is to play in the different graded events of the World Tour, but I really have to work very hard towards that. Since I don’t have a ranking, I need to start playing in minor tournaments in my region first,” said Roobenraj who leaves for Doha on Oct 18.-NST