Punes junior badminton players lack the burning desire to win,says city lass and international badminton player,Gayatri Vartak,who is in town to participate in the Petroleum Sports Promotion Boards Inter Unit badminton tournament being held at the PYC Hindu Gymkhana badminton courts. She is representing IOC at this tournament.
Vartak emphasizes the lack of passion for the sport of badminton as far as juniors are concerned. The juniors from Pune lack the burning desire that is required to be successful in the sport of badminton. Dedication and the desire to learn has to be present in each and every youngster. The WIE complex was the main centre for badminton in Pune. The shutting down of this centre has not helped matters. The success achieved by players like Saina Nehwal,Chetan Anand and Anup Sridhar should be enough motivation for the players to put in that extra effort,she said.
The 20-year-old shuttler was in St. Josephs School,Pashan for eight years before shifting to Jog School for her ninth and tenth standard. She then studied in BMCC where she is currently pursuing her Third Year B Com. She started her training in the WIE Complex of Pune under Ashwin Humnabadkar and then moved on to Bangalore to the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy where she has been practicing for the past four years under the guidance of Hemant Hardikar. She has also been helped greatly by India coach Vimal Kumar and badminton legend Prakash Padukone. She has performed well in the India Open GP that took place in July last year and registered one of her best victories,beating the world number 42 Agnese Allegrini. She has been preparing well for the on going tournament and rates it to be the toughest all India tournament. This competition is unpredictable. Many of Indias top players are evenly distributed in each of the teams as the companies select players on the basis of their performance. Every match is a tough match,right from the first round up to the final. You have to be on top of your game for every single match. It is very difficult to pick a clear winner from this tournament. She is looking to focus on her strengths and prepare well,mentally,for each match. I will use my half-smashes and flick-tosses as best I can to win matches. The physical strength is a part of my game,which I have to improve upon. I will also look to be mentally prepared for every match as I feel that ninety percent of the game is won in the mind.
Vartak was also a national-level swimmer in her school days.
Swimming has benefited me greatly in the sport of badminton. Swimming increases your stamina and makes you physically fit. It helps you train and relaxes you at the same time and you remain injury free. She still takes the occasional dip in the PYC Hindu Gymkhana pool when she finds the time.
Vartak has her mind set on making a career out of this sport and feels that youngsters should not hesitate in doing so. Parents should support their children if they show an interest in the sport of badminton. Managing your academics along with regular practice is not a tough task. There is enough time to do both.
Her motto in life is if you want to do something do it to the best of your abilities or else dont do it at all.