Teenager Anahat Singh, unbeaten in 2024, chases third straight title on PSA Challenger Tour

Sixteen-year-old Anahat, the second youngest National champion ever, has had a spotless season on the PSA Challenger Tour so far, winning both the tournaments she took part in.

Published : Jun 06, 2024 14:49 IST , CHENNAI - 3 MINS READ

Anahat Singh, 16, will look to keep her winning momentum on the senior circuit going as she chases her third straight title on the PSA Challenger Tour at the ongoing HCL Squash Tour event at the Indian Squash Academy in the city.

The two-time Asian Games medallist made quick work of her second-round match against Aryaa Dwivedi on Wednesday with a scoreline of 3-0 (11-1, 11-2, 11-1).

While both Singh (WR132) and Dwivedi (WR364) received byes in the first-round, this match was rather short (finished in less than 15 minutes) and certainly one-sided. For Singh, it was a stroll in the park as she walked into the quarterfinals, where she will meet eighth-seeded Shameena Riaz.

“It was the first match and a quick one. The other girl was also good. I had to put in some effort but happy I could get through an easy game,” Singh told Sportstar shortly after the game.

READ | Anahat, Abhay, Velavan included in TOPS scheme

Anahat, the second youngest National champion ever, has had a spotless season on the PSA Challenger Tour so far, winning both the tournaments she took part in. These include the JSW Willingdon Little Masters & Senior Tournament that took place in Mumbai, and the Hamdard Squashters Northern Slam that was held in Delhi.

The transition from the junior to the senior level can be harrowing for any young athlete, be it any discipline. However, not many get a chance to play in the Commonwealth Games at the impressionable age of 14.

“Definitely, it (experience in CWG and Asiad) has made it a lot better. I got to experience the bigger games. It’s always an athlete’s dream to start playing in the professional tour,” she said. “But, I’m still young and I’ve just started. Slowly, it will be my aim to get into the top 15 or 20 and make my way up the rankings.”

Right after the game, when Anahat realised that media duties might be upon her, there was a momentary frown on the 16-year-old’s face. This was a reminder that the promising athlete is, after all, a teenager.

“I’m friends with a lot of people in the squash circuit, so it’s not really that hard, but I’ve been doing it for so long, so I’m quite used to it now,” she said with a chuckle.

WATCH | Squash’s Olympic dream: Indian players eye glory in Los Angeles 2028 after Asian Games triumph

Last year, the International Olympic Committee green-signalled the move to include squash in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. This has given many players, like Anahat, a chance to fulfill her dream of playing at the Olympics. Yet, the youngster treads cautiously with a tinge of realism while setting her goals.

“It’s (2028 Olympics) in my mind. Winning a medal at the Olympics is a dream, but there are still a lot of big tournaments in those four years. I’m taking it one tournament at a time and winning them in the best way I can. For the long term, that’s the main aim at the end right there.”

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