EXCLUSIVE | Rutuparna Panda on Winning National Junior Championship With Swollen Up Ankle; Aims Olympic Medal For India in 2024

'I always had the dream to do well for India in the singles event'- Rutuparna Panda.

Published: February 21, 2022 5:38 PM IST

By Debayan Bhattacharyya

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Rutuparna Panda has her sight set on winning a medal in the 2024 Paris Olympics for India. (Image: Instagram- rutuparna)

New Delhi: Rutuparna Panda is India’s next big thing in Badminton Doubles and the 22-year old Odisha shuttler sets her sight on winning a medal in the 2024 Paris Olympics for India. The Eklavya Purushkar recipient is the first women’s badminton player from Odisha to feature in the Asian Games and has won three BWF International challenge/series in her career so far. She won the Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles in Ghana International in 2019 and a Women’s Doubles in 2018 Hellas Open. She was also on the list of 400 most influential people of 2020. KIIT University student Rutuparna, caught up with india.com for an exclusive chat on her journey, winning the National Junior Championship with a swollen up ankle and her aspirations for the career ahead. Here are the excerpts from the interview.

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1) Your experience at Asian Games 2018 ?
The experience in the Asian Games 2018 was great. I was the first ever women’s badminton player from Odisha to represent India in the Asian Games. I really worked hard for it. I got motivated to work even harder to do well for my country.

2) On winning the Gold Medal at National Jr. Championship ?
Winning the Gold Medal at the Junior National Championships was really special. It was my U-19 last year, that means my last year in junior and until my U-19 first year I was playing girl’s singles professionally and I just shifted to doubles. The nationals was happening in Guwahati and in the Quarterfinal match my ankle got twisted. I was really sad after that as I had the semifinals on the same day in both Women’s Doubles and Mixed events events. Luckily my father was there with me at that time. He helped me with icing and everything. And I played two matches that day with a taping in my ankle and won both the matches. And the next day I had the finals and there was swelling and pain in my ankle, I still managed to become National champion. So I was actually very much happy that time.

3) Ever thought of competing in the Singles category at a competitive level ?
Yeah from the beginning when I started playing badminton I always had the dream to do well for India in the singles event. I was ranked 7th in India in the junior singles. That time I was practicing with my father. I would still love to play singles

4) Your aspirations for the 2024 Olympics ?
I really hope that I’ll represent India and give a medal to India in doubles in the 2024 Olympics and I am working really hard for it.

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Published Date: February 21, 2022 5:38 PM IST