Stressed? Revive a Sporting Passion

NEXT100 2011 winner Somasekhar Gonuguntla did exactly that by re-igniting his passion for badminton at Tesco

Not everyone who plays badminton would emerge like Pullela Gopichand or Prakash Padukone, India's former badminton champions, says Somasekhar Gonuguntla (Somu), Project Manager at Tesco HSC (Hindustan Service Centre) in Bangalore. I have enjoyed watching these champions play but I play badminton only as sport for fitness and relaxation and have been doing so from school days, says the winner of 2011 NEXT 100 Future CIO award.

Somu says since high school, he used to prefer playing badminton to cricket or other sports. I used to love this game and used to play both singles and doubles all the time. Be it on the road, at an open site or on a court, he says.

After school and college, however, one tends to focus more on studies and jobs rather than indulge in sports and that's what hampered him as well. However, it is now time to reconnect with my old school habits. Moreover, to remain healthy I don't feel one needs to [necessarily] go to the gymnasium; a couple of games of badminton is enough, he remarks.

Today Somu plays this sport at the office and puts in about 45 minutes to 90 minutes - mostly during weekends and off days.

Since Tesco is a global company, Somu travels often to the head office in Hertfordshire, UK, and its branches. Our office is about a 30-minute journey from London and I spend 2-3 months each time I go there. During my spare time, I play badminton with my Indian and overseas colleagues regularly, he says.

His passion has also given him a chance to connect with his old and new friends and colleagues, he says. He finds badminton relaxing and adds: The perspiration at the end of a game is an indication of my fitness.

Somu also gets to travel to Tesco branches in Turkey, China and Korea. And he tries to play his fave sport whenever he can.

Combining his passion for badminton and his love for work keeps him away from stress, so he doesn't mind putting in the extra hours. At the end of the day if you are happy and relaxed, your family is happy as well, he laughs.

No wonder he often makes time even during weekdays to play it with his nine-year-old son, who's also getting hooked on to the sport like his dad.

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