Malvika Bansod: More exposure in Asian and European circuits will benefit young players

Bansod still needs to gain a lot of weight but that has not stopped the left-hander from stunning opponents with her whiplash smashes and impressive strokes.

Malvika Bansod is happy with the Badminton Association of India’s choice of tournaments for promising juniors.   -  S. Ramesh Kurup

Malvika Bansod was relatively frail a few years ago. She was a poor eater and her parents put her into kathak thinking it would help her appetite.

“Still, my appetite did not increase so they wanted to put me into some sport, that’s how badminton happened,” the junior international, one of the brightest prospects currently in Indian badminton, said in a chat with Sportstar on the sidelines of the National-ranking senior tournament on Thursday evening.

She still needs to gain a lot of weight but that has not stopped the left-hander from stunning opponents with her whiplash smashes and impressive strokes.

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The 17-year-old played the Junior Worlds in Canada last year and she feels her 11-21, 13-21 loss against Olympic silver medallist P.V. Sindhu in the Senior Nationals early this year in Guwahati has upped her confidence in a big way.

“P.V. Sindhu plays very powerful strokes and she has very accurate nets, her dribbles are very sharp so I got to know that you have to build up your stamina very well. She is a very fit player and very tall so your strokes should be on the baseline, so that she doesn’t catch them in between and your net play should also be good,” said the girl from Nagpur.

“I feel my strokes have developed a bit and I’ve worked on my stamina also after the Senior Nationals. And at the Junior Worlds, I got to play against new players, got a taste of new strategies.”

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Malvika is happy with the Badminton Association of India’s choice of tournaments for promising juniors.

“The junior tournaments selected by the BAI, the Dutch, German, the Asian Championships and Worlds …these are very good tournaments, they are the best,” said the young girl whose parents are both doctors.

“Two or three more tournaments will help a lot. If a young player gets to play all of them, it will be very good.”

Malvika explains the reason for the need for more international exposure for juniors.

“We need exposure because in India our playing style is a bit different. Wherever I go, and I’ve played a lot outside India, I feel the playing style is very different, especially in Europe.

“The girls there are very tall, you can’t play the drop and dribble game there. You have to play fast and use the half smash and push game there. If kids get more and more exposure in Asian and European circuits, it will benefit them a lot.”