Badminton Life

High Hopes for India's Leading Players

India's leading players have set high targets as they aim for success on the global stage.

Teenager Saina Nehwal is looking at breaking into the world's top five next year while male shuttler Arvind Bhatt is hoping to make it into the top 10.

Saina's goals are probably the more realistic of the two after an outstanding year for the 18-year-old.

Voted as the most promising player recently by Badminton World Federation, Saina has already entered the top 10 of the world rankings. She now wants to go higher, as she told Indian media.

She was quoted as saying: "Having cracked my way into the top 10, I intend to crack the top five by next year. I'll try and perform consistently and win bigger events.

"I also need a training break to work on my defence and backhands. I could do with some off-court training to improve my speed and endurance."

However, she doesn't want to stop at merely a top-five position. Her long-time goal is to be ranked number one in the world and win the Olympic gold for her country. And she knows it will be a tough road.

She said: "With competition hotting up every year, I can't take things easy. I'll have to keep going until the world number one crown rests on my head and I win an Olympic gold."

Bhatt, meanwhile, was setting goals of his own soon after his wedding to former Bengal badminton player Pallavi Sengupta earlier this week.

"I am aiming to break into the world's top 20 by next June," Bhatt was quoted as saying. "If I maintain my current form, I hope to break into the top 10 in a year and a half."

Bhatt is currently the second best player in India behind Chetan Anand, who is ranked 1th.

He is due to spend his honeymoon in Sri Lanka before returning for some intensive training as he prepares for tournaments in Malaysia and South Korea, where he hopes to get the results to boost his rankings.

"I've got some tournaments in January and I will be looking for a good start to the year," he said.

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