Venus Image Courtesy:
29 Dec, 2018
“Who’s the Man? He’s the Man!!” that’s just the
chant that’s taking the Premier Badminton League by storm in its fourth edition
currently underway. While the Hyderabad leg might have been a mixed bag for the
home team – with a resounding win and a comprehensive set back – Mark Caljouw,
however, is having a dream run with 3 wins out of 3 this season and looking at
his form it will take some performance to get the better off him!
Ten days into the league, life seems to have
gone an absolutely delicious makeover for Mark. He’s almost a cult hero in
Hyderabad with youngsters screaming his name when he steps out for a practice,
and young ladies swooning over every move of his! The social media fans just go
berserk over him and the most asked question to the Hyderabad Hunters social
media channels – is that if he’s single & available.
Mark Caljouw – is clearly enjoying all the
adulation and he must! It takes some doing to win over Indian fans, and he’s
done it with exhilarating performances on court and some fine attitude off it!
At a recent visit to the local radio station –
Radio Mirchi – Mark was a picture of composure, willing to laugh at his own
expense and happy to open up about his life & times back in the
Netherlands. What’s absolutely clear is that here’s an athlete who’s
comfortable in his skin, doesn’t take himself too seriously off the court and but
is completely focussed on it!
Talking of on court performances – he has been
an absolute revelation. A relatively unknown commodity to Indian fans, he’s
come and taken the league by an absolute storm.
His shirt-ripping celebration following his
match against P Kashyap made him an instant Instagram star. And his ability to
hold nerve at a crucial juncture of the tie made him a fan favourite.
However, the Hunters team management aren’t quite
surprised by his exploits. Although, they’re definitely happy to see their
assessment come true.
“We picked Mark, based on his current form. As
he had been making excellent progress on the tour this year. Also, we wanted a
player to fit the bill for the MS2 slot – and he’s done it just about perfectly
so far!,” said Hyderabad Hunters Team Manager Vamshi.
Although, he did admit that even they were
pleasantly surprised by the meteoric rise of Mark’s this early in the
So, this brings me to the question what has
fuelled this Mark mania in PBL Season 4?
The simplicity of his persona, the sheer
brilliance of his game and his passionate & expressive self might be the
three definite answers.
One of the moments, I will remember for a long
time from yesterday’s match was a point wherein Mark – with his back to the
net, flicks the bird across the net and then fights to stay in the point,
eventually winning it and letting out a roar. That moment just summed up why
you’d pay good bucks to watch this guy play.
Finally, as he closed out his match against Lee
Dong Keun, I caught him just for the brief moment – considering to rip his
shirt off – one more time. The crowd would have loved it, but he changed his
mind. Clearly, he’s not just all out passion – there’s a fine mind on those
shoulders that’s driving him further.
Three out of three, all the adulation of the
Hunters fans, much has changed over the last 10 days for Mark Caljouw – but
fundamentally he knows what got him thus far, is good enough to take him even
further – and he will stick to that at all times.