Between B Sai Praneeth’s withdrawal from the August Olympics and the December world championships, Mark Caljouw (pr: Cal-eow) soothed his rapidly beating heart. Literally.
Writing for his club in Europe BC Vrij Uit, Caljouw had explained his specific condition that prompted him to undergo surgery in September. âIt sounds pretty drastic, but for those who don’t know: sometimes my heart can beat crazy if I’m training or playing a game, which definitely influences my game and also scares me a bit sometimes. I hope that after this operation, I can avoid these peaks in heart rate, âhe wrote, crossing his fingers.
It was expected that after the operation he would have to recover for a few weeks. “But I’ll be back soon,” he wrote.
Back, it was Sunday at the world championships in Huelva. Fallback in the first set against Sai Praneeth, 21-17. Speeding up the pace in the second, Caljouw – a tall man with tentacle-shaped arms that not only recover for lateral / horizontal reach but also to connect to the shuttle at a higher altitude – would begin to harass Sai.
The Indian was visibly struggling with his fitness – even his health – as the match progressed. Caljouw rushing through the rally would speed up his pace and not intelligently allow Sai to huff, even getting into double-handed position quickly while receiving the serve.
– BWF (@bwfmedia) December 13, 2021
For someone who is 187cm tall, Caljouw can affect a very low center of gravity with his lunge and squat technique when defending on the forecourt. In fact, Caljouw recovered almost 95% of the bent shuttles at the net and wasn’t shaken by Sai’s many variations in dribbling.
His hopping strides and extendable arms captured everything in the front corners and in the center of the shot. The Indian just couldn’t pierce Caljouw’s webbed Spidey-Superman defense up front. When he lifted, Caljouw reveled in the angle smash kill.
The mid-series cost Sai Praneeth a few heavy breaths. Obviously, his physical form was quickly depleting and he was keen to finish it in half. But Caljouw was tireless.
Long considered a peripheral companion of the Netherlands, Caljouw was particularly troublesome for the Indians. Weighing around 77 kg, he has a heavy foot, but never weighed down. A stride and a half either way gets him to shuttle to any part of the court, and he’s exceptionally agile for his frame while not exactly relying on a one-turn play. bang-bang smash-smash. The large retriever is very skilled in traditional defense and his anticipation is constant, the adrenaline not particularly hampering his accuracy.
Sai Praneeth has tried everything. Send him back on both sides. Reduce the pace at midfield with drops and half-smashes. Dribbling. But the 21-7 in the second set was an indicator of Caljouw’s determination. He was pulling frustrated mistakes, with Sai overwhelming the net. He was recovering maniacally and barely doing wide shuttles. His control over the shuttle – can be quite difficult. The fact that âheart surgeryâ did not dampen his intensity is testament to his love of the sport.
A badminton enthusiast since childhood, Mark, now 26, has followed his brothers into the sport. His life has revolved around the bird, and he admitted in an interview on his club’s website that his social circle is very small and that all of his life experiences revolve around the one sport he loves. He became the first in his country in 25 years to qualify for the Olympics.
In the decider, Sai felt he had the game up for grabs at 14-8. Still, he was panting far too much not to give an opponent any idea that he might be overtaken. Caljouw just set the pace for Sai – in rallies and between them. All of the Indian’s attempts to catch his breath were thwarted by Caljouw who just stood there ready to receive his service. Even his midterm end change rushed – he picked out his bag and clutched the racquet between his teeth as he moved. His mistakes were due to the same haste, but he felt an opening as he watched Sai wither painfully between the stitches. He pulled the stuff out, but the arms and legs just weren’t catching Sai’s brain.
Caljouw would take the lead, equalizing at 17, then gaining momentum to move forward. Three quick points broke Sai’s back in a way that wasn’t the case during a 40-hit rally where he bravely defended. Sai was finished by the time Caljouw wrapped him around 21-18, holding onto the billboards, either cramping or sick. The Dutchman raised his fist and stepped forward, his heart pounding not short of courage.