Raguraman ranks as one of the highest American Junior Nationalists in Badminton


Provided by Shobha Raguraman

Shobha Raguraman poses for a picture after the 2018 IBC Junior Championships, and placing 1st in mixed and 2nd in doubles.

Sophia Keang, Staff Writer

Like most high school students, WA sophomore Shobha Raguraman’s day consists of typical things, breakfast, school, and homework. However, when the bell rings, Raguraman travels 40 minutes to Maugus Club to train for badminton. The countless hours she spends training pays off as she is one of the highest ranking Junior Nationalists in Badminton in the U.S.

Raguraman is one of the highest-ranking Junior Nationalist competitors for badminton in the United States. With only four years of experience, Raguraman is already ranked 7th for singles and 2nd for doubles for badminton in America.

Shobha Raguraman’s badminton career started in California before she moved to Massachusetts. Her parents decided it would be best to keep her busy over the summer, so they enrolled her in a summer camp. 

“My mom’s friend also suggested that I try out a badminton play center that just opened up where I used to live in California. So, I gave it a shot and found it pretty interesting,” Raguraman said.

In the summer of 2014, Raguraman and her family moved to Westford and eventually found a club two years later where she could continue playing badminton. In 2016, Raguraman played in her first-ever competitive tournament at the Bay State Games which kick-started her badminton journey.

Raguraman typically spends on average 13-17 hours per week training, including the six hours over the weekends. She trains at Maugus Club in Wellesley, Massachusetts with her coach Sasha Boyarin.

She also trains with 15-year-old Dhriti Kommineni from Westborough, MA. This season, Raguraman and Kommineni have played in four tournaments together. Together, they usually rank in the top 3 of their competition. On average, Raguraman ranked in the top 7 in singles so far in the season. 

Though Raguraman has earned tremendous victories, she also suffered through many tough and devastating losses. However, continues to thrive and dedicate her time and love into the sport. 

“My favorite thing about playing badminton is definitely the competition. It gets really competitive at times and training is a good way to relieve all my stress from school. Stepping onto the court is like leaving all my worries and stress outside and I can just focus on playing,” Raguraman said. 

Despite her work-load from school with advanced-level classes and extracurriculars, the athlete still makes time for 1-3 hours for training per day after school. 

“I actually try to get much of my homework done at school so I don’t have homework to worry about past three or four o’clock,” Raguraman said.

This season Raguraman has played in countless tournaments that range from statewide to nationwide. So far, Raguraman has participated in the 2019 Yonex Northeast Open Regional Championships, the 2020 Royal DC Junior Closed Regional Championship, and the 2020 USA Badminton Yonex Frisco Badminton South Open Regional Championship. She also competed in adult-level tournaments such as the Connecticut Open, and the 2020 Mid Atlantic Classic. 

However, the remaining competitions, tournaments, and training for the season are cancelled due to COVID-19. 

“I was planning on playing in the Boston Open, an adult tournament where I would play for experience, and Junior Nationals which unfortunately will most likely be cancelled,” Raguraman wrote in an email. “Though it kind of sucks because now there’s nothing to look forward to, but it isn’t going to be like this forever so I guess that’s keeping me moving forward,” Raguraman said.

Raguraman’s coach has her call in through FaceTime and does simple, at-home workouts to keep the athletes active.

“Sometimes I would practice downstairs in my basement, but I don’t have that much space. So, I try to do the best I can but also I’m taking this time to just relax and settle down,” Raguraman said.

After four years of training and more to come, Raguraman hopes badminton will still be part of her life in the future. She hopes to continue doing some light training at home and waits for next season. Raguraman always knew that with having goals always came hard work, and she was willing to work for it.

“I’ve learned that losing isn’t always something that brings down a person. Sometimes you can learn more from experiencing a loss than a win,” said Raguraman.