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Meet 19-yr-old Leihong Konyak, the ‘badminton wizard’ of Nagaland

Meet 19-yr-old Leihong Konyak, the ‘badminton wizard’ of Nagaland

The Mon lad recently won Inter-District and State Open Badminton Championship for the second consecutive year; now setting his sights on representing nation by 2023

Leihong Konyak began playing badminton at a tender age of 10 years when his father Honshong Konyak took him to a local badminton tournament. Since then, there has been no looking back.

The 19-year-old boy hailing from Mon district of Nagaland won the recently-concluded 43rd Nagaland Inter-District and State Open Badminton Championship held in Zunheboto. He claimed the title for the second consecutive year. High on the achievement, the young shuttler is now aiming to represent the country in global platforms by 2023.

Speaking with EastMojo, Konyak said that he aspires to be one of the best shuttlers in the world. For that, he has already started training up to 9 hours a day. “As a young player, I had to do more training and less on-court sessions. I used to go jogging in the morning and evening and if there are no players then I used to.... train myself in the court,” he said.

Growing up in Totok Ching Kho village under Mon district, Konyak began his professional training at Assam Badminton Academy after he passed his Class X examination in 2016, and has simultaneously enrolled himself in distance education -- he is currently pursuing his first year in Bachelor of Arts.

Recalling how he started, Konyak said, “Out there in my place [Mon district], most guys [boys] my age prefer football. But I started playing [badminton] when I was 10 after my father took me to one of the inter-district badminton tournaments. From there, my passion for badminton started. My first tournament was in 2011 in Tuensang. I got selected but I didn’t get the chance to play. So, right after that tournament I took it as a challenge and started practicing each and every day and I thought of winning that same tournament the next year which was held in Dimapur in 2012. So from 2012, I started winning till now.”

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