Bombay Gymkhana JSW-46th Maharashtra State Open Squash: Indian Prodigy Ready To Make It Big

Bombay Gymkhana JSW-46th Maharashtra State Open Squash: Indian Prodigy Ready To Make It Big

The 15-year-old squash sensation from Delhi dreams of becoming World champion some day

Haridev PushparajUpdated: Tuesday, September 05, 2023, 05:24 PM IST
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Anahat Singh has been a revelation as far as Indian squash is concerned in recent times and in the last couple of years with her exploits at the international level.

All of 15 years, the Delhi girl has been conquering squash courts with her blazing shots and energy that has seen her rise to the Asian No 1 ranking and India No 1 ranking in the under-17 category.

She clinched the gold medal at the Asian Junior Squash Championships held in Dalian, China, last month in the under-17 category to add to the under-15 gold that she had bagged in 2022.

"This is the second time that I have won. I had won in the U-15 category. It's obviously one of the biggest tournaments in Asia and it was a big deal winning. It was also my first year in the category and no one really expected me to win, so it felt great and I was really happy. Just the venue and the whole set up was amazing."

Talking about her experience in Dalian, Anahat felt it was a major learning curve for her.

"All the top players compete there and I had close matches in the quarters, semis and final. It wasn't one of my best performances but I won so I'm happy."

She revealed that she may have won around 50 titles nationally and internationally in her career up until now.

The 10th standard student of Brtish School, Delhi has been on a roll at the ongoing Maharashtra State Open Squash at the Bombay Gymkhana courts where she has stormed into the final after beating Sunita Patel in the semifinal.

Talking to Free Press Journal after her match, Anahat looked back at her journey from the age of six when she picked up the badminton racquet and thereafter transitioned into squash.

"I actually used to play badminton when I was really young. My elder sister used to play squash at that time. I started going with her for tournaments and started getting a bit into the sport by watching her play etc. For a few years, I was overlapping between the two as I was playing badminton and squash both. It was starting to get a bit hard because I wanted to play professionally and playing two sports at a time was challenging. I had to pick only one. I started playing badminton at 6 and squash at 8. My first coach was Amjad Khan in Delhi. And currently my coach is Stephane Galifi of France,'' Anahat revealed.

Anahat stated it was difficult to find time to train with her French coach as he is mostly based in Mumbai and travels once in a while to France.

"He lives in Mumbai, he goes to France once in a while. I only get to train with him online through calls or if I'm in Mumbai. Otherwise, in Delhi I'm only playing matches and stuff,'' she added.

The supremely talented lass dreams of becoming world champion in the future and feels she has a long way to go in translating the dream into reality.

"In the long-term, my dream is to become the World champion or World No 1 but right now I'm focused on the Asian Games where I'll be competing with Joshna, Dipika and Tanvi in the women's category and Abhijit Sen in mixed-doubles,'' she added.

It's obviously really hard. I'm at a really low stage if I compare myself to all the top players internationally. But I have to keep working hard and train hard. Put in a lot of effort. I haven't competed with any of the top senior players.

Anahat has some important tournaments lined up post that with the senior Nationals in October or November. There is the US Open, British Open and Scottish Open in December as well before the U-19 World Championships next year.

Balancing her squash career and academics has been a task for Anahat but she has managed it pretty well so far.

" I'm in the 10th and I am in the British School in Delhi. My school and my teachers are very supportive and if I'm missing out on tournaments. If I'm missing out on exams, but they are all really supportive.

Whenever I get the time, I try and study,'' she added.

Anahat has been well-supported by her family as well and she feels that has been her biggest strength.

"Obviously, none of this would have been possible without my parents and they are always with me travelling. Whenever I'm training, they are there for me. I wouldn't be who I am without them.''

Apart from squash and her academics, Anahat has other past-times that keeps her occupied.

"I love painting and drawing and playing the piano as well."

The 15-year-old looks upto her seniors Joshna Chinnappa and Sourav Ghosal as rolemodels.

"Talking to them and getting advice from them has helped me a lot and I look upto them,'' she added.

She has a sweet tooth and enjoys milk chocolates in between matches and has a weakness for junk food too, although she does spend some time with her trainer and focuses on fitness as well.

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