Talented Malvika Bansod wants to ride Uber Cup break

Junior Asian champion last year, the teenaged Nagpur shuttler is excited to share the Indian dressing room with PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal in Denmark.

By Subhayan Dutta

Teenaged badminton player Malvika Bansod remains unfazed by the COVID-19 pandemic and is looking forward to travelling to Denmark with the Indian squad for the Uber Cup next month.

The Uber Cup is the women’s official world team championship, a biennial event, and will be held from October 3 to 11 in Aarhus, Denmark.

Malvika Bansod’s last international outing was the Bangladesh International Challenge in 2019, following which the Nagpur shuttler competed in domestic tournaments before the lockdown started in March.

However, the 2019 Asian junior champion’s efforts were recognised by the Badminton Association of India (BAI) as she got her maiden call-up to compete at the prestigious Uber Cup.

Bansod bursting with excitement

"There have been so many months without action, so I am actually really excited about the tour. I am not too bothered (about COVID-19)," Malvika Bansod told PTI.

"It is the first time that I have been called up for the Uber Cup, so I am very happy. I have been able to train for the last couple of months.

“I had sessions with junior India coach Sanjay Mishra sir after the lockdown was lifted. So, I am in good shape," Malvika said.

“I was hopeful (of making it to the squad) and it is great to represent the country," added the shuttler, who will turn 19 later this week.

Malvika Bansod is currently training at an academy in Raipur.

Malvika Bansod’s recent success

Playing in the junior circuit since 2015, Malvika Bansod made her mark last year when she claimed consecutive titles at the Maldives International Future Series and the Nepal International Series.

She then announced her arrival at the Asia Junior Championships, where the then 83rd ranked junior shuttler stunned world No. 1 junior Phittayaporn Chaiwan.

The Indian outclassed Chaiwan in the second round in straight games. Malvika considers it as the “biggest highlight” of her career.

“Apart from that, I also won other junior and senior domestic and international titles last year. So it was a good year for me,” Malvika pointed out.

Understudy to Olympic medallists

India’s Uber Cup squad is a mix of both youth and experience. It’s an opportunity for the likes of Malvika Bansod, Aakarshi Kashyap and others to rub shoulders with veterans PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Ashwini Ponnappa.

“It will be a good experience and exposure for them as Saina and Sindhu are also there," India’s chief junior national coach Sanjay Mishra said referring to the two Olympic medallists.

"They have just started their senior careers. So, it will help them in the long run,” Mishra reckoned.

India’s Uber Cup squad: PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Aakarshi Kashyap, Malvika Bansod, Ashwini Ponnappa, N. Sikki Reddy, Pooja Dandu, Sanjana Santosh, Poorvisha S. Ram, Jakkampudi Meghana