‘Odisha has been lucky for me’, says young Indian badminton talent Unnati Hooda

Ace shuttler will play her Quarterfinals match tomorrow

New Delhi,14th December: Cuttack, 14 December, 2023: Unnati Hooda, Women’s Singles defending champion from last edition, who has been making waves in the badminton circuit is on a roll in the ongoing edition of the Odisha Masters 2023, being held at the JN Indoor Stadium in Cuttack.

The 16-year-old sensation, who hails from Rohtak, Haryana, won the Women’s Singles event at the Odisha Masters 2022, a moment she describes as life-changing. She says, “Odisha Masters is very close to my heart. After winning last year, the door was open for me to participate in international tournaments. Odisha has been very lucky for me. It feels great to come back here as I feel it is my second home.”

Unnati, who is currently ranked 67, is in phenomenal form as she is outplaying her opponents with different variations in her shots. In her Round of 32 match, she beat Uganda’s Husina Kobugabe with a score of 21-10 and 21-8. In the Round of 16 match, she beat Ashmita Chaliha with a score of 21-18 and 21-16 to secure her place in the Quarterfinals.

Unnati went on to talk about the facilities and her experience of playing in Odisha and stressed on the importance of such international events for budding players. She expressed, “I am impressed with the facilities provided to all the players here. From world-class courts to all other arrangements for the players, the tournament organizers have done a good job keeping the smallest of details in mind.”

“With India hosting such a big tournament, it is a platform for so many players including us to compete against the best in the world. We have players from 30 countries here, so it is good for the budding players to learn from them and inculcate the same in their game,” she added.

In 2023, Unnati Hooda defeated compatriot Samiya Imad Farooqui 21-16 and 22-20 in the 2023 Abu Dhabi Masters finals and won her second BWF World Tour Title. She then won the India International Challenge by beating compatriot Tasnim Mir in straight games. She was also part of India’s 2022 Uber Cup team.

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