Anahat Singh, 15, is looking to build on the gains she made at the Commonwealth Games last year when she makes her Asian Games debut in Hangzhou next week.
The squash competition begins with the team events on September 26. She was 14 in Birmingham last year and remains the youngest member of the contingent by far.
Speaking about her journey, Delhi-based Anahat revealed that badminton was her initial calling before she took up squash.
“I was playing badminton initially, and my sister used to play squash. I wouldn’t have ever thought of playing squash, but my sister played some tournaments and started doing well, and that’s when I thought of taking it up,” she told PTI in an interaction arranged by HCL.
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“I would say my sister (kept me motivated) since she is the reason I took up the sport. Along with her, my family also kept me motivated all the time and helped me always.”
The Indian squash contingent had a training camp here before heading to China under the guidance of former world champion Grégory Gaultier and former world number one James Willstrop. Speaking about it, Anahat said, “The preparations have been pretty well. We had a two-week camp in Chennai. We had all the top players practising, and we also got to play with them.”
“They (Gregory and James) obviously have so much experience; they are top players. We got to play and interact with them, and we also learnt quite some new things from them. It was really great for the whole Indian team to have them around.”
Anahat has a long career ahead of her, and she has also been dubbed as the next superstar of Indian squash.
When asked about the challenges she has faced in the sport, she said: “Squash is not a widely popular sport yet, as not a lot of people have heard about it. The facilities available in squash are very limited compared to other sports, which is a huge challenge for all squash players.”
Anahat will be participating in the doubles and mixed doubles, but she is not feeling the pressure. “I don’t think there is really any pressure because I believe I will be playing my best along with all the other senior players.
“Playing and winning these junior events have given me a lot of confidence, and they always help out heading into these senior events. “I feel we really have a handsome squad, and we are capable of getting a medal in each of the events. We have been playing well and training really hard, and we feel that we really have a chance of getting a medal if not the gold,” she signed off.
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