It would be strange to play India at their home turf: Rajiv | other | Hindustan Times
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It would be strange to play India at their home turf: Rajiv

other Updated: Oct 05, 2010 14:07 IST

He has an Indian connection but England's number one shuttler Rajiv Ouseph says that would not come on his way if he takes on the hosts during the mixed team event of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

Rajiv, whose family hails from Thrissur in Kerala, is excited to play his first multi-disciplinary event in India and said he would love to play the hosts in the finals though it would be difficult to play them in their home turf.

"It is nice to play my first Commonwealth Games or for that matter my first multi-disciplinary tournament in India. I know I have an Indian connection and it would be strange playing against India in India, who are one of the toughest opponents," said Rajiv.

"But I would love to play against them in the finals and will hopefully beat them," added the 24-year-old, who has been the national champion for the last three years.

Asked about his toughest opponents in the singles, Rajiv said India's P Kashyap and Malaysia's Muhammad Hafiz would be tough competitors, besides the top seed Lee Chong Wei.

"Hafiz and Kashyap will be tough to beat. Also Lee Chong Wei, I lost to him in the last-16 in the World Championship this year," said the strapping lad, currently at career-best 16 in the world ranking.

He achieved the world number 18 rank after winning the US Open men's singles title and winning the bronze medal in the same category in the 2010 European Badminton Championships in Manchester.

In 2009, he won the Canadian Open, French Open, Scottish Open, Irish Open and also went on to clinch the 2009 European Circuit Finals.

Rajiv's mother, Asha Joseph is a civil servant in England and father is an engineer but Rajiv found himself drawn to badminton at the age of eight.

"I started playing badminton when I was probably of eight years and ever since have been playing. I didn't go to university," said Rajiv, who became the first Englishman to win the European Junior Championship in 20 years five years ago.

In the Junior English National circuit he has won all the singles titles from the ages of U-13 to U-19. In the European arena he has won the U-19 Danish titles in singles and mixed doubles and the German Junior title in singles.

His father's ancestral home is still in Kerala. Rajiv said he had last visited his roots three years back and won't get a chance to visit this time because of his sporting commitments.

"I have been there four-five times. The last was three years back and this time also, I won't be able to squeeze in time to go there as I have a number of tournaments coming up in the next couple of months," said Rajiv.