Mature head on young shoulders

When 11-year-old Rajat Agarwal was declared the Player of the Tournament at the recently concluded Squash Racquet Federation of Maharashtra’s Bombay Gymkhana Mumbai League...

Written by Shailendra Awasthi | Mumbai | Published: July 4, 2009 1:04 am

When 11-year-old Rajat Agarwal was declared the Player of the Tournament at the recently concluded Squash Racquet Federation of Maharashtra’s Bombay Gymkhana Mumbai League,it was seen as giant leap for the promising junior. Since the event featured players who are far more experienced than him,Agarwal’s all-win record amounted to an outstanding outing.

The city’s leading squash player Sahil Vora,who happened to be Agarwal’s captain in the league,raves about the youngster. “He is the one who helped my team finish third. He won all his five matches and he simply stood out. No wonder he was named the best player of the tournament,” says Vora.

The other stand-out feature for the sixth standard student from Poddar International School was his unflappable temperament. “He has a thinking head on his young shoulders. He is focused and that’s the reason he won several close matches for us,” informs Vora.

Still not a teen,Agarwal boasts of an international experience too. He took part in the Malaysian Open last year where he finished seventh in the under-11 category. He also has many titles under his belt at local and state-level in under-9 and under-11 categories. “He is a very good listener even at this age. And it is because of this trait,seniors like to explain the intricacies of the game to him. I think it is a quality not many youngsters have these days,” says Vora.

Agarwal was inspired to take up the game since his father and a few of his friends were regulars at the Khar Gymkhana squash courts. “It started as a fad but gradually I was hooked,” says Agarwal,who presently is under the wings of coaches Vijay Waghela and Amitoj Inder Singh. “I have been coaching him since last four years and I must say he is very talented,” says Singh,who has been a national-ranked player and now is into serious coaching for the last 12 years.

Singh says his young ward wasn’t very keen on fitness in the past but with time he has understood the importance of training hard. “Recently,he was so exhausted that he threw up on the court. But even after that he didn’t stop,”observed Singh.

Agarwal spends about four hours on court very day. “He has realised that the fitness regime will help him to be mentally tough,” Singh informed.

Agarwal is a big fan of the Egyptian great Ramy Ashour. “I like his court coverage and drop shots. I’m working on my court movements,” says Agarwal.

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