The 22-year-old defeated fifth seed Evgeniya Kosetskaya in straight games.

The 2022 Indian Open badminton witnessed a shock on its opening day. Promising Indian shuttler Ashmita Chaliha staged one of the biggest upsets in the tournament. She defeated the fifth-seeded Russian Evgeniya Kosetskaya in straight games 24-22, 21-16. It was quite a shocker as no one expected the 84th seed Ashmita to better the 28th seed Evgeniya in this fashion.

Right after her momentous victory, Ashmita shared her thoughts on the journey and also reflected on the match. Here are some excerpts from the press conference.

Her struggles with COVID

Ashmita, like many athletes these days, also had a bad phase with the COVID-19 virus. Speaking on the subject, she said, “After 2020, when I had to play a tournament in 2021 I got COVID. So, again my tournaments got cancelled due to that. It was really sad and we only had to come for practice. There were no tournaments.

“It was torture,” added the young shuttler from Assam. She also rued the fact that she missed out on some major tournaments. “I was nervous in Bahrain because it was such a big tournament and I hadn’t participated in big competitions for two years.”

Match against Evgeniya Kosetskaya

Recounting her marvellous performance against Evgeniya, Ashmita Chaliha said, “This one was one of my biggest wins, as I have played with her before and have lost to her in straight games. This one was like my biggest win after two years.”

Shedding light on her strategy against the top-tier opponent, the 22-year-old revealed her plans. “I just had to play safe and freely, so this helped me pull out the game. She was good with dribbles, so my strategy was to play down the strokes with her. I played mostly attacks and that helped me win the match.”

Training and her future goals

The Guwahati-based shuttler also opened up about her current training schedule and coach, while also talking up her future targets. “I have been training with Edwin Iriawan in Assam Badminton Academy. Since last month, we have been playing in All India tournaments. So, at that time, we did not train much because we were only playing tournaments. Before coming to India Open, I just played for one week after that only I came here,” she said.

“I haven’t planned much because of this COVID situation. But, my next target is to come in the top 50 for now,” concluded the determined badminton prodigy.

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