But for the first phase of lockdown after the pandemic that unleashed untold misery across the world and also forced sport to come to a standstill, Malvika Bansod could well have broken into the top-100 on the badminton world rankings last year.
She had had a productive 2019 that yielded two international wins in Maldives and Nepal, and there was no reason to doubt why the diligent scholar-athlete could not move up in the pecking order.
But like her doctor parents, the 19-year-old from Nagpur chose to make the best use of the situation. She persevered and instead caught up on hobbies like reading, playing the Casio and getting fitter.
Mind and body rejuvenated, Malvika returned to the court a better and relaxed athlete and that reflected in the results. Two titles in six months, the latest being the Lithuanian International earlier this month, Malvika achieved a career best ranking of 114 and the road ahead looks promising as life starts to open up following the second wave of the pandemic.
Malvika has imbibed the trait of roughing it out from her parents. Both dental surgeons, they have never looked at raising a champion athlete as a task but a delightful journey, even if it meant staying away from their clinic in Nagpur for months as they accompanied Malvika for tournaments or shifting base temporarily to Raipur so that the daughter can train under coach Sanjay Mishra.
With a liking for academics, Malvika attended regular school unlike a lot of her contemporaries but that meant her day stretched from dawn to dusk. There are several other qualities that make her stand out. To know more watch the informative video.
Photo credit: Malvika Bansod