Badminton: Pair of Ritika Thakre and Simran Singhi break into world's top-100 ranking

NAGPUR: Ritika Thaker has a reason to smile amid tough time during ongoing coronavirus lockdown.

Ritika and her partner Simran Singhi from Thane have broken into the world’s top 100 in the women’s doubles. Just before the Badminton World Federation (BWF) has frozen the rankings as it has suspended all the international tournaments till May, the Maharashtra pair has jumped to world No. 98.


Considering the fact that they are into their first year in the seniors’ category, experts believe it is certainly a promising beginning.

Ritika and Simran have been dominating the domestic junior tournaments for the last five years. The pair reached the peak when they emerged as the U-19 girls doubles champions at the Junior National Badminton Championship at Rajahmundry in December, 2019.

By entering the top-100 in the world, Ritika and Simran have joined the elite group of Indian pairs. Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy are India’s premier duo with world ranking of 28. The other Indian pairs in the top hundred are Pooja Dandu-Sanjana Santosh (44), J Meghana-Poorvisha S Ram (46), K Maneesha-Rutuparna Panda (54) and Kuhoo Garg-Anoushka Parikh (86).

Ritika and Simran, who are placed sixth in the national BAI rankings, have been consistently performing brilliantly since 2014 despite not training together.

While Ritika train under Ajay Dayal and Robin Simon in Nagpur, Simran is a member of Thane Badminton Academy.

Ritika, 19, is happy with the current ranking, but admitted that she and Simran must practice together in the future.

“We have not played many international tournaments in the seniors’ category. With limited exposure, it’s a good start. But now the competition will be tougher and for that we should train together for better coordination and understanding,” Ritika told TOI on Saturday.

“Our coaches and parents are working on it. They know the importance of playing together. We are hopeful of some good solution once this lockdown period gets over,” said Ritika.

A Standard XI student of Hislop College, Ritika believes their main competitors will be Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy and the pair of Pooja Dandu and Sanjana Santosh. Barring these two, we are pretty confident of beating the rest in India.


Simran, who celebrated her birthday on Saturday, echoed Ritika’s views.
“Considering the fierce competition in the women’s doubles, we must practice together on regular basis. We want to extend our juniors’ success in the seniors section too,” said Simran, the taller of the two.
Thane Academy head coach Shrikant Vad is optimistic about the success of Ritika and Simran provided they play at one centre with top players.
“I feel both Simran and Ritika are very talented pair. Ritika is pretty strong from the fore court whereas Simran can play hard from the back. However if they want to succeed at international level in the future, they will have to become strong mentally as well as physically. Also they need to practice under one roof where there is proper guidance and lot of quality sparring. If this happens their future is bright,” said Vad.

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