Houston born Disha Gupta aims to carve her niche at Indian Open

By PTI at Sport Star | March 27, 2019, 12:58 p.m. (ET)

Houston-born Disha Gupta aims to carve her niche at Indian Open

It’s a tall order for anyone living in the United States to dream of playing with the elites of world badminton, primarily due to lack of quality training partners.

But 19-year-old US-born shuttler of Indian origin Disha Gupta is ready to do the hard yards in order to measure up at the highest level as she gears up for her maiden USD 350,000 Indian Open appearance.

She will be playing a BWF World Tour Super 500 tournament,a first in her nascent international career.

On Tuesday, Disha was busy honing her skills at the practice hall, sparring with budding Indian shuttlers Mugdha Agrey and Vaidehi Choudhari — both feature in the main draw, with the former slated to take on the formidable P.V. Sindhu Wednesday.

Disha, who started playing professionally in 2016 as a 16-year-old, reached the finals of Peru International challenge in 2017.

“I started when I was 10. My dad took me to the club. I had already quit a lot of sports, like basketball, figure skating. So when I played badminton, within a year I was able to play well. So I thought I had potential and I continued,” Disha told PTI after her session.

However, Disha’s progress has been seriously dented due to the lack of training partners.

“It is very difficult to train in the US. I’m still trying to figure out a place to train, to find good practice. I just train by myself and sometimes I try to practice with a couple of boys, if they are available,” said Disha, who lives in Houston.

Ahead of the India Open, she moved to Thailand to train for 3-4 months.

“I have trained there along with (former Thailand No 1) Ratchanok Inthanon and she is really sweet. Also, there was Vaishnavi Jakka Reddy. I know I have to train seriously if I have to improve further,” she said.

Disha was supposed to open against top seed Chinese Chen Yufei but with the All England champion pulling out, USA’s Isabel Zhong was promoted from the qualifier.

“It is my first time in India Open. I play a U.S. player, I have played her before. Last time I had beaten her and so I hope to do well,” she said.

Sandeep Gupta, Disha’s father, who had shifted base to the US back in 1997, have tried to find an academy in India where she could train but nothing materialised.”

“I am waiting for her to complete her 12th grade so that she can find a place to train. We tried Gopichand academy (in Hyderabad) also but it is difficult to get into. I wanted her to train in India but didn’t find any structure here. She spent around a month at White Peacock Academy before moving to Thailand,” he said.

 

This article is reposted from Star Sport, click HERE for original source.