Malvika Bansod was so overawed on Thursday that she made it a degree to not take a look at the face of her opponent, get distracted and lose. On the opposite aspect of the web was her idol Saina Nehwal, whose profession the 20-year-old has religiously adopted ever since she noticed posters of the previous world No.1 at a state-level event 9 years again.
However that didn’t cease Bansod from changing into solely the second Indian after PV Sindhu to defeat Nehwal in a world event. Within the home circuit, Aparna Popat was the final to beat the two-time World Championship medallist 16 years in the past on the senior nationwide championships in Bengaluru.
“It has not sunk in yet,” mentioned Bansod, sounding ecstatic. “It was a dream come true to play against her in such a big event. Saina has been my idol because she has been the flag-bearer of women’s badminton in India for more than a decade. That’s the reason why I took up badminton. When I started out, I used to get overawed by her game, style of play and power.”
Thirty 4 minutes was all it took for the Nagpur-born to beat Nehwal, the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, 21-17, 21-9 and notch up the most important win of her fledgling profession and make the quarter-finals of the $400,000 India Open on the Indira Gandhi Sports activities Complicated in New Delhi.
Her efficiency earned the reward from Nehwal too. “Malvika is doing well at the highest level and going to improve (from here). She is a very good rally player. I hope she does well in the tournament,” mentioned Nehwal, who has been hit by groin and knee accidents of late.
After profitable a number of junior tournaments, Bansod made her senior worldwide debut in September 2019 and instantly impressed with titles in Maldives and Nepal. She additionally beat a few of India’s greatest in two senior nationwide rating tournaments in Bareilly (2018) and Kozhikode (2019).
Constant performances noticed her world rating rise from 452 in September 2019 to 111 now. Bansod goals to interrupt into the top-100 to get automated qualification for top-tier tournaments.
Although the pandemic halted her event play, Bansod took particular permission to coach in Raipur underneath coach Sanjay Mishra. “The last two years were difficult because of the pandemic as training was not the way it was before. My coach took special effort to keep my training on during these difficult times. He kept special sessions for me during lockdown so that I don’t miss training,” she mentioned.
That routine helped Bansod win instantly after the restart of the calendar. She received her third senior nationwide rating event in Hyderabad final yr and adopted that with two worldwide crowns in Uganda and Lithuania. “My performances in Uber and Sudirman Cups 4-5 months ago were (also) good. I got to learn a lot from that experience. I got to see and play with Saina during practice sessions. That experience helped me to win,” mentioned Bansod, who will face compatriot Aakarshi Kashyap on Friday.
Mishra, the chief nationwide junior coach who has skilled Bansod for 5 years, mentioned she has improved so much. “She is mainly a rally player, has good strokes but to win international tournaments you need power and speed. Those are the two aspects we have to work on, that is our target.”