New Delhi, April 26 Badminton National champion Anupama Upadhyaya, feeling confident about going into her first major international tournament, the Sudirman Cup, revealed that she is aiming for the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028 but that “Paris is not out of her plans”.
Sudirman Cup is a mixed-team world championship, the 18th edition of the tournament is scheduled to take place from May 14 to 21 in Suzhou, China.
Anupama, who will be representing India in Women’s Singles in the prestigious tournament is also quite excited, to share a bench with two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu and another senior player across the world.
“I feel super excited after being named in the Sudirman Cup squad. It’s an honour to represent the current Indian Badminton team which is en route to becoming a powerhouse. I am really excited to share the bench with Legendary two-time Olympic Medalist P.V. Sindhu,” the 18-year-old told IANS.
“It will be a great learning experience for me. I will be able to see closely not only Indian top players like Sindhu, Srikanth (Kidambi), HS Prannoy, and others but also top players from other countries like Tai Tzu Ying, Chen Yu Fei, An se Young and others carry and conduct themselves on-court as well as off-court,” she added.
As Road to Paris Olympic qualifications begin with Sudirman Cup but Anupama is taking things slow and steady and set her eyes on the 2028 Los Olympics as she wants to focus on the Challenger circuit and then move to the Super Series for the next two years.
“I believe it takes at least one and a half to two years to translate results from the domestic circuit to the international circuit. So, to be realistic, I am aiming more at Los Angeles than Paris. I would start playing this year more on the International Series and Challenge circuit and occasionally the Super 100 Series circuit,” said Anupama, who is targeting to break into Top-30 of the BWF rankings by the end of the season.
“My target would be to finish on Podium for 1-2 years on the Challenge circuit and then move to the Super Series circuit in 2 years. But I also believe that nothing is impossible. So, anything can happen with God’s wish, determination, Will power and hard work. So, Paris is also not out of the question or target,” Anupama said.
Former junior world No.1 shuttle was crowned women’s singles champion at the Senior National Badminton Championship, beating Aakarshi Kashyap in a topsy-turvy final to clinch the national title last month.
The youngster admitted that winning a national title has boosted her confidence to compete in her first major international tournament with the senior players.
“Definitely, after the National triumph my confidence has increased a lot and I feel I can definitely compete with Top Indian Senior players. I feel confident enough going into my first major International tournament, the Sudirman Cup,” the 18-year-old said.
India have been grouped in Group C along with Malaysia, Chinese Taipei and Australia and their first task will be to make it to the knock-out stage from a potentially tricky group.
Speaking on the tricky draw, the youngster came up with a confident reply and said though Malaysia and Taipei are tricky teams the Indian team is no less strong than their Asian counterparts.
“Taipei are tricky teams, but our team is also no pushover now. It is no less stronger than them,” she said.
The Indian badminton team’s best results in the Sudirman Cup came in 2011 and 2017 when they reached the quarter-finals. In the last edition, India was eliminated in the group stage after losing to China and Thailand.
Asked about the approach to tackle the opponents, Anupama said: “I think the team captain and team Coaches are best to decide strategy and approach in the tournament matches. As far as our (players) role is concerned we are there to play as per the strategy and role decided by coaches.”
(This article is from a syndicated feed and has not been edited by Regular Sports News Team)