Our aim is to qualify for the 2024 Olympics – Indian badminton athlete Shikha Gautam

At just 23 years of age, Shikha Gautam is currently ranked number 1 in the Women’s Doubles in India. She is also the 2019 Senior National Champion and Khelo India University Winner 2020 and is setting her sights on making a mark in the international stage alongside Ashwini Bhat. In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, Shikha Gautam speaks about being introduced to the sport and her childhood idol, her partnership with Ashwini Bhat, Target Olympic Podium Scheme, her most memorable achievement so far, training under coach Jagdish Yadav, overcoming challenges and future goals.

Q 1) When were you first introduced to badminton and who were your childhood idols growing up?

I started playing badminton when I was 9 years old. I grew up watching Saina Nehwal. 

Q 2) You are currently ranked number 1 in Women’s Doubles in India, tell us about your partnership with Ashwini Bhat that has led to this achievement.

The Senior National Championship at Guwahati was the first tournament we played together for the first time. Winning the championship gave us the boost to move ahead and play further tournaments and we kept on performing consistently in All India and as well as International tournaments. That’s how within a few months we became INDIA no.1. Together we have played many prestigious tournaments representing India, Yonex All England Badminton Championship 2021 is one of them. 

Q 3) Please tell us about the Target Olympic Podium Scheme of the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports?

This scheme provides assistance to India’s top athletes to prepare for the Olympic Games. We are a part of this scheme and we are very thankful to the Sports Authority of India to give us this opportunity.

Q 3) You are the 2019 senior national champion and Khelo India University winner in 2020, which achievement you are the most proud of in your career so far?

I would say I’m more proud of Winning Senior National Championship because here the level of competition was more and we defeated good International ranked players but at the same time Winning Khelo India University Games gave me deep pleasure because it was the FIRST Khelo India University Games ever held and we are the winners.

Also read: Representing and winning medals for India is my most special and honorable achievement – Indian roller skater Bhavita Madhu

Q 4) You have trained at the Yadav Pro Badminton Academy in Bangalore under coach Jagdish Yadav. How much has he contributed in the success of your career and the development of your game?

In his guidance only we won the Senior National Championship and many All India tournaments. After winning the national championship, he worked on the improvement of our game. Currently we are practicing at the Prakash Padukone Academy under the national camp.

Q 5) What are some of the challenges that you have faced in your career so far? How did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge is to get endorsements and sponsorship from the private sector which we could not get till now. We are looking forward to connecting with private companies for endorsement deals. 

Q 6) What are your future goals and objectives? How do you plan to achieve them?

Future goal is to qualify for the 2024 Olympics. This year our aim is to be in the Top 30 in World ranking. Currently We are targeting upcoming India International tournaments which will be starting from Tuesday 11th January. 


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