It's all play for Pavithra now

Former state champion Antony K. Jacob, who has been coaching her the last eight years, feels that Pavithra would do well among bigger girls.

Pavithra Naveen with her coaches Antony Jacob (left) and Renjith Sunny.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT


When she won the Kerala state women's badminton title at Ettumanoor two years ago, one felt that she was someone special. Pavithra Naveen was just 13 then and she was playing her maiden state senior championship.

Now, the young girl has taken some bold steps to boost her game.

“I've quit regular school and joined open school now, I don't have to attend classes...I'm fully into badminton now,” said Pavithra in a chat with Sportstar here on Friday.

The 15-year-old had taken her time to finalise her big move.

“When I was in the eighth standard, I told my dad that I want to fully concentrate on badminton so he said that we would try for an open school. Also, I'm above average in studies, I got 83 per cent in my 10th exams.

“And these two years are crucial for me. I'm in my first under-17 year and I want to be ready whenever tournaments resume.”

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Now that she has plenty of time, Pavithra has set herself some big targets.

“I want to be the senior national singles champion in about two years,” said the teen who finished her 10th from St. Pius School, Kochi.

Pavithra, who played the under-15 Asians late last year, has also decided to skip state tournaments and focus on the national circuit in a higher age-group.

“I will not be playing under-17 but the senior and under-19 category in the national and international circuits,” she said.

Former state champion Antony K. Jacob, who has been coaching her the last eight years, feels that Pavithra would do well among bigger girls.

"She is training well but she needs a lot of match experience, especially in the senior national level. That will help her build confidence,” said Antony, who has taken five years leave from his state government job to focus on his talented bunch at the Bright Sports Centre here.

“Pavithra is very strong in attack, an offensive player, she uses her strokes well. That's why I believe she would do well at the national level, even pull off a few upsets. But she has to improve her defence.

“Pavithra and Andrea Sarah Kurien, who is also very talented, were the India No. 1 in under-15 doubles last year but I want Pavithra to focus on singles. I want to make her a national champion.”

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