Paris 2024 is round the corner, and Busanan Ongbamrunphan knows she needs to keep getting better. The race for spots will be tight, for Thailand have several contenders for the two spots in women’s singles – seniors like Ratchanok Intanon, Pornpawee Chochuwong and Ongbamrungphan herself, and younger ones like Supanida Katethong and Lalinrat Chaiwan.
With that in mind, the world No.12 went independent last April, seeking training that was focussed on her.
Ongbamrungphan’s move, from the national association to Bangpho Badminton Club, is in line with recent developments in the sport, with top players establishing teams around themselves, rather than being part of a large group.
“I’m training with my coach and my team. I changed everything because I needed to improve myself, I need one-on-one, good quality training, to prepare for the Olympics,” said Ongbamrungphan..
“The entire programme is focussed only on me. My coach knows what I want, and my team works on what I need to improve. There’s good quality sparring as well. When we go to tournaments, I can train with Ratchanok or Pornpawee, but when I go to my club, I have my own sparring partners.”
Ongbamrungphan says she can sense the benefits of the change, as she feels stronger and faster.
That has yet to translate into results, though. Her best performance over the past year was at the YONEX Swiss Open last March, when she made the final. In recent months, it’s been mostly the first or second rounds at the HSBC BWF World Tour, barring a quarterfinal at the YONEX French Open.
Yet, perhaps more importantly, Ongbamrungphan says she is in a better mental space.