Teen shuttler Unnati, 15, aims to win a medal on the senior circuit event before she spearheads India team at the BWF World Junior Championships in USA
India shuttler Unnati Hooda. PIC/Badminton Association of India
India shuttler Unnati Hooda, 15, wants to shift her focus on the Indonesia International Challenge (August 29 till September 3) before Ayush Shetty and she spearhead the Indian team at the BWF World Junior Championships in Spokane, USA, from September 25.
“This year, I just want to improve my game and rankings on the senior circuit. I hope to be in the Top 50-100 by this December. I am playing the Indonesia Challenge [seniors’ event] for which I will be leaving on August 26 or 27. I wish to win a medal before I head to America,” Rohtak-based Hooda, who is ranked 136 in the senior category and No. 18 in junior rankings, told www.mid-day.com.
Meanwhile, Hooda, who became the youngest shuttler from the country to win BWF Super 100 title—Odisha Open in January, wants her second World Jr Championship outing to be better than her last one in Spain, where she went down 17-21, 21-12, 18-21 to Japan’s Hina Akechi in the pre-quarter-finals.
“I am really excited for the World Junior Championships since I will be going to America for the first time. Also, it will be my second world juniors. The last time [pre-quarters exit] was not as I expected it to be. Hence, I aim to get a better result,” remarked Hooda.
At the World Junior Championships, the mixed team event will be held from September 25 while the individual events will commence from October 2.Talking about the pressure of leading the side, the young shuttler replied: “There will surely be added pressure on me. But it’s up to us how we handle that. If I take pressure, I cannot perform well. I will try not to succumb to pressure and give my 100 per cent. Over the past one year, I have also gained a lot of experience having played multiple national and international tournaments. That has made me a bit more confident. The Uber Cup was my first international team event and I learnt so much from [Sindhu] didi. She was a very chilled out leader and I hope to be one,” she signed off.