There are plenty of talented young players in the domestic circuit.
For more than a decade now, Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu have dominated Indian badminton with their spectacular performances. While Saina started dominating the sport a decade back, Sindhu has been doing the same for the past few years. From Olympic success to World Championship medals, the duo has achieved almost everything that a badminton player could dream of in their career.
The duo stands as an inspiration to all the upcoming stars in Indian badminton. In the next five years, the country can continue to expect such great performances from Sindhu. However, to carry the legacy forward, the question arises about who are those upcoming stars in women’s singles for Indian badminton?
We take a look at five such players who have shown promise to carry the legacy forward:
After Saina and Sindhu, Ashmita is the highest-ranked women’s singles badminton player from India. She is currently ranked 83rd in the BWF rankings. The 21-year-old from Assam came into the spotlight when she gave a tough challenge to Sindhu at the 2019 National Badminton Championships. Although she lost 10-21, 20-22, it was an intense 38-minute battle that was a treat to watch.
She has two international titles to her name, which are Tata Open India International (2018) and Dubai International (2018). In addition, at the 2019 South Asian Games in Kathmandu, she not only guided the Indian team to the gold medal but also won the individual gold.
Ashmita is currently training at the Assam Badminton Academy under Indonesian coach Edwin Iriawan, who coached the Indian team at the 2012 London Olympics.
Hailing from Chattisgarh, Aakarshi is another badminton player from India to look out for. Notably, she is the No. 1 ranked senior player as per the BAI rankings and has held the rank for two years. While being very successful in the domestic tournaments, there is more to be seen from her on the international circuit.
The 20-year-old grabbed her first international title last year by winning the Kenya International. Moreover, she also finished runner-up at the Uganda International (2020) and Bulgarian International (2018). She was also a part of the Indian team that won gold at the 2019 Asian Games. The youngster is currently ranked 94th in the world.
Ranked second in the senior BAI rankings, Malvika Bansod had a jump-start to her international career by launching herself with two titles – Maldives International Future Series (2019) and Annapurna Post International Series (2019).
The Nagpur-based badminton player also won the Uganda International and Lithuanian International this year. She is training under coach Sanjay Mishra in Raipur. The 20-year-old is currently ranked 110th in the world.
Mugdha Agrey is another bright prospect for Indian badminton. She is currently ranked 90th in the BWF rankings. The 22-year-old from Nagpur was a runner-up at the 2019 JE Wilson International Series and Lagos International Series. Notably, she clinched the women’s singles title at the 2019 All India Senior Ranking Badminton tournament which took place in Guntur.
She is currently training in Nagpur under coach Jibi Verghese. In addition, the tall shuttler was a part of the Pune 7 Aces in the PBL season last year.
Daughter of the legendary coach Pullela Gopichand, Gayatri has been making a few headlines with her performances. The teenager got selected to be a part of the Indian team that won gold at the 2019 Asian Games when she was just 15-year- old.
Moreover, she was the second-youngest player to feature at the recent Premier Badminton League edition and was a part of the Chennai Superstarz team. The youngster is currently ranked 218th in the world.