Smit Toshniwal has proved that her performance at the Odisha Open was not a flash in the pan by reaching yet another final in Slovenia.
The 21-year-old Smit Toshniwal finished runners-up at the Slovenia International 2022 Series held in Maribor, Slovenia, last week to notch up another excellent performance.
It was Smit’s second successful final appearance in back-to-back international tournaments. Earlier, at the Odisha Open 2022 BWF World Tour Super 100 tournament in Cuttack, in January 2022, Smit surprised everyone by storming into the women’s singles final.
In an all-India final, the 14-year-old Unnati Hooda halted Smit’s giant-killing run to grab her maiden international title.
Before the Odisha Open, Smit was well away from the limelight but her sensational showing in Cuttack brought the attention of the Indian sporting community to her. Despite losing her final battle against another rising Indian shuttler, Smit won the hearts of everyone with her spectacular run.
Buoyed by her Odisha Open success, Smit worked hard on her fitness and skills without participating in any tournament. The hard work paid off as she came up with yet another sterling performance in Slovenia. The sixth-seed registered some brilliant victories to book her place in the final.
However, Smit’s winning spree was halted by eighth-seed Lin Hsiang Ti of Chinese Taipei 15-21, 14-21, in 36 minutes. World No. 113 Smit tried her best but could not get the better of Lin Hsiang Ti in the final.
The 23-year-old Chinese Taipei player, ranked 126 in the world, used her experience to good effect to shatter Smit’s hopes of winning her maiden international crown.
Smit Toshniwal’s journey to international stage
Smit shifted from Nashik, Maharashtra, to Hyderabad a few years ago and joined Chetan Anand Badminton Academy (CABA). Ever since joining CABA, she has been improving continuously.
Coach Chetan Anand is happy with Smit’s performance
Former international star Chetan Anand is delighted with Smit Toshniwal’s recent performance. He had hoped that Smit would perform even better in the years to come.
Speaking to Sportskeeda, Anand explained the improvement in Smit’s game over the last year.
“Yes she has the talent and the game to perform on the world stage but was under-performing last year. She has good speed and needs to work a bit on her strengths. Since she came to me, we have worked on endurance and strength training. “
Chetan Anand is a four-time national men’s singles champion, winning the title in 2004, 2007, 2008, and 2010; and three-time South Asian Games champion – in 2004, 2006, and 2010.
The former world No. 10 player worked really hard on the mental aspect of Smit. The teenager trounced Mutiara Ayu Puspitasari of Indonesia 21-17, 21-7 in the semi-finals in Slovenia.
“We have also worked on her mental strength and confidence, which was lacking before, as she used to doubt her abilities. Earlier, Smit was under a lot of pressure to perform but now that has changed. She is a confident player now. “
Player-turned-coach Anand has produced some very good players from his academy. He is expecting better results from Smit in the next few tournaments.
“Now she is playing freely as her confidence has improved. I am expecting many more good results in the next few tournaments as well. “
Smit Toshniwal will now compete at the Austrian Open 2022 International Series, which will be held in Graz, Austria from May 26 to 29. Sixth seed Smit will take on one of the qualifiers in the first round on Friday.
Smit Toshniwal’s road to the final at the Slovenia International 2022 Series
6-Smit bt Tasya Farahnailah (Indonesia) 21-9, 21-19 (31 minutes)
6-Smit bt Arina Marushchak (Ukraine) 22-24, 21-10, 21-19 (55 minutes)
6-Smit bt Ananya Praveen 21-16, 21-9 (India) (30 minutes)
6-Smit bt Mutiara Ayu Puspitasari (Indonesia) 21-17, 21-7 (33 minutes)
6-Smit lost to 8-Lin Hsiang Ti (Chinese Taipei) 15-21, 14-21 (36 minutes).