Subhankar Dey opens up on defeating his idol, Lin Dan and his journey from Kolkata to Europe
It was a moment of sheer ecstasy for Indian shuttler Subhankar Dey when he not only played against his idol and two-time Olympic gold medallist Lin Dan but also defeated him at the SaarLorLux Open Badminton Championship in 2018.
The 27-year-old was a keen follower of Dan right from his childhood and even used to sleep beside his poster, as he revealed in Sports Tiger’s show ‘Building Bridge.
"When I was small, my sister made a big poster for me of Lin Dan and I used to sleep next to it. And I used to think that one day I will play against him. I never thought of defeating him at that time since I was very small. It was always a dream for me. I wanted to see Lin Dan, play like him and copy him when I was in Kolkata.
"I celebrate a lot after every win but after defeating Lin Dan, I did not celebrate at all. It was quite surprising as everybody in India was like, you beat Lin Dan, so some expression should be there. But I just went and shook hands and left. That was the respect I had for him," stated the 27-year-old shuttler.
Dey announced his arrival in the professional circuit when he beat B Sai Praneeth in the quarterfinals of the senior badminton nationals held in Nagpur in 2017 but the win against Dan catapulted him to national fame.
He grew up in Kolkata and was inspired by his siblings to take up the sport. But lack of infrastructure in the city forced him to move to Mumbai, in spite of not having a sound financial backup.
I feel my turning point was when I came to Mumbai. I started performing well after moving there on India level. Initially, there weren’t any sponsors but I became India No.6 and became part of Asian Championship U-19, that time I got a scholarship from Hindustan Petroleum of Rs 12000. That was the first scholarship I got for me and it was a huge amount for me at that time.
Dey plays for the Awadhe Warriors in the Premier Badminton League but has also tried his luck In Europe. As part of the preparations of his European sojourn, he trained under Tom John in Bangalore. His move to Denmark's Greve Strands Club allowed him to participate in many competitive tournaments which helped him grow as a player.
I mailed almost 30 clubs all over Europe and I got a reply from Denmark. And then I said, fine. It was small money but I thought, this is the opportunity, maybe I will go there and at least I will learn a lot of things and see how it is going. That’s how I went to Denmark.
World number 46 Dey has opened his academy in Kolkata and Mumbai and he also drops a sweat or two in those training centres along with other trainees. He has broken into the top-50 and now the ace shuttler has set his target to be amongst the top-20 by the end of next year.