V. S. Varshini: Smash is her favourite shot

On her coach Saravanan’s suggestion, V. S. Varshini has shifted to the Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad since the start of 2019 to improve her doubles game.

Varshini (left). “In two years, we may expect her to win a gold or major title in the senior circuit,” says Varshini’s coach, Saravanan   -  R. Ravindran

Age: 17

From: Madurai, Tamil Nadu

Education: Standard XII, TVS MHSS (Madurai)

Discipline: Badminton

Beginning: V. S. Varshini started playing badminton casually with her family members and a neighbour who, then, was a member of the Meeka Badminton Academy. When she was in Standard III, she joined the Academy on the neighbour’s insistence. After a year, her long-time coach Saravanan told her parents that she has good potential and should be groomed to professionally play the sport.

After Varshini won silver in a Madurai district-level championship, Saravanan increased her training hours.

Coach: Saravanan says, “She used to train for around six-and-a-half hours everyday — she spent around two hours on fitness every morning. She regularly attends training, and always stays focused. A year ago, I suggested that she exclusively play doubles since I felt she has an in-built doubles game.”

On his suggestion, she’s shifted to the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad since the start of this year to improve her doubles game.

Saravanan proudly proclaims, “She became the first player from Tamil Nadu to win a gold in a national-ranking tournament when she won the under-15 girls’ title in 2016.”

He adds, “In two years, we may expect her to win a gold or major title in the senior circuit.”

Father: Her father Viswanath, who owns a furniture manufacturing business, says: “We made her join the (Meeka) Academy since we wanted to just keep her busy. Her coach had been appreciating our cooperation since. She has always been punctual (to training) and shown great commitment.”

Strength: She believes that her strength is her attacking game. Smash is her favourite shot, a shot she believes she’s strong with.

Weakness: Her coach says she’s “slow with her movement” and gets “locked” now and then. “She’s especially slow in moving to the net,” he adds.

Achievements:

International: 2019: Women’s doubles bronze with the junior National team in the German Open International.

Part of the junior national team for the Asian badminton championship.

Women’s doubles bronze in the junior International Grand Prix in Pune.

Women’s doubles silver in the Dubai junior International series.

2017: Part of the National team for the Asian sub-junior badminton championship.

National: Most recent (2019): All India junior ranking tournaments: Jaipur, Vijayawada, Trivandrum — Girls’ doubles gold.

Bengaluru — Two girls’ doubles, and mixed doubles silvers.

Chennai, Panchkula — Girls’ doubles bronze.

What they say

Coach: Saravanan says, “She used to train for around six-and-a-half hours every day — she spent around two hours on fitness every morning. She regularly attends training, and always stays focused. A year ago, I suggested that she exclusively play doubles since I felt she has an in-built doubles game.”

On his suggestion, she’s shifted to the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad since the start of this year to improve her doubles game.

Saravanan proudly proclaims, “She became the first player from Tamil Nadu to win a gold in a national-ranking tournament when she won the under-15 girls’ title in 2016.”

He adds, “In two years, we may expect her to win a gold or major title in the senior circuit.”

Father: Her father Viswanath, who owns a furniture manufacturing business, says: “We made her join the (Meeka) academy since we wanted to just keep her busy. Her coach had been appreciating our cooperation since. She has always been punctual (to training) and shown great commitment.”

Achievements

International:

2019: Women’s doubles bronze with the junior national team in the German Open International.

Part of the junior national team for the Asian badminton championship.

Women’s doubles bronze in the junior International Grand Prix in Pune.

Women’s doubles silver in the Dubai junior International series.

2017:

Part of the National team for the Asian sub-junior badminton championship.

National:

Most recent (2019): All India junior ranking tournaments: Jaipur, Vijayawada, Trivandrum — Girls’ doubles gold.

Bengaluru — Two girls’ doubles, and mixed doubles silvers.

Chennai, Panchkula — Girls’ doubles bronze.

***

Has so far won 12 gold, 5 silver, and 13 bronze medals in National-ranking tournaments.

Has so far won 16 gold medals in the Tamil Nadu State championships.