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Reflections: World Pickleball Championships 2023

This World Pickleball Championships in Bali was something that I was looking forward to. It was also the tournament after the Pesta Sukan Competition, where I was purposefully loading myself with tons of matches to acclimatise to the load I was facing in Bali. Hence, I signed myself up for eight events: three men's singles events, two men's doubles, two mixed doubles events, and the team event on the final day of competition. At the end of it all, I was blessed beyond measure to walk away with three gold medals in my age group category and new openings for me to grow in this sport. While it is always good to walk away from international tournaments with three medals, it was humbling because every time I stood on the podium, it immediately hit me that I needed to stay grounded and focused on the bigger picture ahead.

It was an interesting experience, needless to say. Pickleball is something that I never thought I would enjoy so much. In my previous blog posts, I had spoken about how much I love the sport, along with the trove full of lessons learned and still to be learned. Playing on an international standard with the pro athletes gave me a chance to witness what I aspire to become, and how I would like to master the game in the years to come. I felt that I was still not as fit and as ready as I would like to be mentally and physically to cut some weight, and hit the gym more so that I can play at a consistently high level because that's what's gonna be required in the pro circuit.

With this second chance to compete with the best elite athletes in the world, it is time for me to mentally tune our distractions and channel as much energy as I can to lay the necessary groundwork. I want to be able to stay in the fight for the entire day not just physically, but mentally. My approach to Pickleball has changed quite a bit after seeing what the world standard has to offer where it is about mixing everything up for a multidimensional play that cannot easily be figured out. Variety and versatility are essential aspects in a pro athlete’s game, requiring each player to adapt and change their strategy as they go along dynamically. Something I am committed to doing better in.

WPC 2023 holds a special place in my heart not mainly because of the titles won but because it marks a breakthrough milestone in my sports career as a whole. Matches in the past were fraught with great frustration and mental barriers, which added to the frustration, and hampered my ability to tap into my potential. This, in itself, symbolises a sign of bigger things to come. Something that I promised myself and those who have been supporting me on my journey is to never stop improving and to never reach a point where I think I have done it all.

Unlearning and relearning so many things has been a roller coaster ride as I never really listened to advice for most of my sporting career. However, this time I find myself listening to this inner within myself more than anything else, taking advice from my trusted friends and truly appreciating the guidance that comes along the way. It has been a life-changing journey and it showed me that one simply cannot accomplish great things all on their own. Just like every touch and shot is crafted from purposeful practice, precision and consistency are perfected with patience and a growth mindset.

And so to my next blog post.

As always, Onward!


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