AITA Trust selects 16 players for scholarship

AITA Trust announced the selection of eight boys and eight girls for the annual scholarship of Rs.100,000 each, at the DLTA Complex on Wednesday.

The 16 boys and girls in the under-14 age group who won the AITA Trust annual tennis scholarship in Delhi on Wednesday.   -  KAMESH SRINIVASAN

Everyone’s effort was acknowledged and those players who did not get selected were told that the situation should fuel their motivation stronger and they should become better, as the AITA Trust announced selection of eight boys and eight girls for the annual scholarship of Rs. 100,000 each, at the DLTA Complex here on Wednesday.

Even though there were top-10 players of the country in both the boys and girls sections, including those who had already represented the country and were scheduled to do the same, the selection panel clarified that the ranking was not the sole criteria.

The quality of tennis in some of the States was evident, as Haryana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh managed to get the scholarships for both the boys and girls.

Every State had nominated one boy and a girl for selection. There were 32 players assembled for the drill which included four days of tennis apart from two days of physical fitness assessment.

The fact that the rankings or the results of the matches did not form the significant criteria was proved when the 469th ranked Samprit Sharma of Chhattisgarh got the nod among the boys. Similar was the case with the 33rd ranked Amishi Shukla of Madhya Pradesh.

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All the selected players were presented the first instalment of Rs. 50,000. They were told that the remaining money would be paid in the third and fourth quarters.

Addressing the players on behalf of the AITA Trust, V.K. Batra said that the next initiative would be to form the teams with players in the 14 to 18 age group to compete in the ITF junior circuit.

Coach Balram Singh who headed the selection panel said that it was a difficult exercise to arrive at the final list. Another member of the panel, Davis Cupper Vishaal Uppal said that the meeting lasted three hours and a half to finalise the names.

"Those who have not been selected, don’t be disappointed. I want to see you as better players next year. You are at the start of your career, and everything depends on how much hunger you have to work hard day in day out," said Vishaal.

To the parents, Vishaal said, "This journey is long. Like the players, you are all infant tennis parents. Keep motivating the kids and keep enjoying their tennis. Good luck with your journey."

Coach Nar Singh also emphasised that there was no reason "to lose heart" on non-selection and that it was important to keep getting better.

"When he was 14 years, nobody knew that Vishaal Uppal would play Davis Cup. Eventually, he did," pointed out Nar Singh.

Executing the first step of the Vision project, Prashant Menon of the AITA Trust said that it was wonderful to host the players and the parents. He sought suggestions to improve further and serve Indian tennis better.

The selected players

Boys: Yuvan Nandal (Har), Aayush Bhat (Kar), Manas Dhamne (Mah), Nitish Balaji (TN), Arunava Mazumdar (WB), Samprit Sharma (Chg), Ayushman Arjeria (MP), Rushil Khosla (UP).

Girls: Shruti Ahlawat (Har), Suhitha Maruri (Kar), Ruma Ashutosh Gaikaiwari (Mah), Kundana Sri Bandaru (TN), Sweta Samanta (WB), Riya Sachdeva (Del), Amishi Shukla (MP), Veda Raju Prapurna (Tel).