As she prepares for the upcoming Asian Games at the National Camp, this Indian No.2 badminton player from Vizag talks about her wins, losses and lessons learned.
With her father being a national player in badminton, Uttejitha got introduced to the game rather early in life. So, she was in the sixth grade at Sri Prakash School, when she started taking badminton lessons in the city. Trained in Vizag and at Khamman, she played professionally, and a District Level Tournament won at Kurnool was the turning point. That was when she decided to focus on badminton, a choice that led her to the Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad.
As she practises with trainers and senior players, to better her game, Uttejitha also participates in different events. Over the four years of joining the academy, she shares that her game has improved. It’s the hard work she puts in, and her typical day starts at 4 AM, as she trains for two-hour slots, with breaks in between, till 6 PM. She also participates in various tournaments regularly, with the recent one being the Asian Games selection tournaments conducted by the Badminton Association of India (BAI) in Bangalore and Hyderabad.
The journey towards the top isn’t easy, and 21-year-old Uttejitha has had her share of losses. “There was a phase in my life where I’d lose every match. People would criticise me saying that if I couldn’t defeat a player at this level, I would not be able to beat the bigger players at all.” However, instead of believing in the critics and giving up, she took it all in her stride and emerged stronger. Today as she improves her fitness for international tournaments, this State Champion also balances her studies through a private school in Hyderabad, which allows her to set the pace of education to match her passion for badminton.
With her current BWF International rank at 87, she ranks at No. 2 position in India. Her medal tally is impressive with 15 bronze, 3 silver and 3 gold medals in both junior and senior (singles) categories. A good hitter, with the strong suit of offense, she is happy to be the first person from the state to participate in Asian Games for Badminton. Also while she enjoys the occasional game of tennis, it is badminton where her heart lies.
The city’s infrastructure
Having trained at the Swarna Bharati in Vizag under the coaches Chandrasekhar and Siva, she shares that the infrastructure for badminton in the city is good, and is actually improving. She also highlights that many of the coaches are dedicated.
As she prepares for the upcoming Asian Games, focusing more on fitness, as that’s an important component internationally, she shares her favourite match to be the recent Bangalore – Hyderabad Open. And when asked what she would have been doing if not badminton, she laughingly adds, “perhaps preparing for IIT”.