Guwahati: International badminton is returning to Assam state capital Guwahati after a gap of 17 years and rising badminton star Unnati Hooda hopes to make it a memorable one by adding another title to her trophy cabinet and have a shot at breaking into the top 50 of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings soon.
Unnati had earlier set a modest target of breaking into the top 100 in the BWF world rankings by the end of this year, but the 16-year-old has already surpassed that target with back-to-back titles in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Chhattisgarh’s Raipur and is hoping to get within touching distance of the top-50 spot with a strong showing at the Guwahati Masters Super 100 tournament that begins in Guwahati with the qualifying rounds on Tuesday (December 5) as per an press release.
Currently ranked 79th in the world, Unnati will open her campaign against Stephanie Widjaja of Indonesia in the inaugural edition of the competition that has attracted some top international stars including Thailand’s Kantaphon Wangcharoen and Supanida Katethong, among others, the release said.
“Our target this year was to only break into the top-100 world ranking. But I managed to finish second in the Infosys Open in Bengaluru and won titles in Abu Dhabi and Chhattisgarh and I was able to achieve that goal quickly. I have prepared well for this tournament and I am hoping that a good run here will inch me closer to the top-50 mark,” said Unnati, who also reached the second round of the Syed Modi Super 300 meet in Lucknow last week.
Speaking about the experience, Unnati said getting to play against a player of the calibre of former world champion Nozomi Okuhara was a fantastic experience for her and she aimed to find consistency in her play like these top stars, it said.
“Some tournaments I play well but in some I don’t. I am continuing to find that balance between training and tournaments in consultation with my coaches to ensure that I become more consistent next year,” Unnati added.
Guwahati hosted the first India International Challenge back in 2007. The Super 100 event on the BWF Tour is one level above the Challenge event and will provide players like Unnati valuable ranking points if she does well here, the release further said.