#WomenAtAsiad: Meet The Left-handed Shuttler Ashmita Chaliha
Badminton prodigy Ashmita Chaliha is one of the strongest players the country is sending to Indonesia as part of the 20-member Indian badminton squad for the Asian Games. The left-handed shuttler from Assam joins the league of shuttlers like PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal. Chaliha secured her berth in the Asian Games India squad by winning the All India Senior Ranking Tournament held recently in Hyderabad.
Here’s why you should watch out for Ashmita Chaliha:
Ashmita began to play the sport at age seven. It was her father who pushed her to take up the sport. The 18-year-old, trains at the Assam Badminton Academy under Indonesian coach Edwin Iriawan and India’s Suranjan Bhobora, she was also coached by Pullela Gopichand for the nationals.
Badminton was not her first choice
Badminton was not the first choice for Ashmita, but once she started winning district and state-level tournaments, her interest for the sports also developed. She perfectly balances out her academic and the athletic and is an inspiration to many.
Born and brought up in Guwahati, Ashmita has been thoroughly engaged in training and practice ever since she started off. Talking to G Plus about the importance of sports in her life, Ashmita said, “Sports are an integral part of my life and I just can’t do without it. Although I play badminton for a career, it also helps me relax and unwind.”
Challenges along the way
“I had to face quite a lot of difficulties while choosing my sport as a profession as it attracted heavy expenses in travelling as well as in participating in tournaments. Moreover, due to my practice and the tournaments, I had little time to concentrate on studies. Since I got very little support from sports organizations or the government, my parents had to manage everything on their own,” she recalled G Plus reported.
“The biggest challenge of being a sportsperson in Assam is that most people here do not perceive sports as a career option since more focus is given on studies. Often, we see brilliant players sacrificing sports for the sake of academics.”
“I did face a lot of difficulties in the beginning of my career as I did not get any financial support from the state. And although we had coaches, there was hardly any exposure for training. However, things have improved now. We have coaches coming from Indonesia in the Assam Badminton Academy where I am presently practicing,” she added.
Ashmita admires Malaysian badminton player Lee Chong Wei. The 16th seed Ashmita has displayed great tenacity to participate in and win many national as well as international championships over the years. Some of her achievements so far:
- At the 42nd Junior National Badminton Championship she won a silver medal.
- At the Inter-State Badminton Championship (North East Zone) she won the first position in the Women’s Singles event.
- All India Junior Ranking Badminton Tournament she secured the second runner-up in the U-19 Girls’ Singles category.
- At the First South Asian Regional Badminton Tournament held in Guwahati, she was declared the winner of the mixed team event.
- Last year, Ashmita was included in the Indian badminton team participated in the BWF World Junior Championship 2017 in Indonesia where she represented India.
As the Indian badminton squad gears up to put up a spectacular show at this year’s Games SheThePeople.TV wishes all athletes best of luck at the upcoming Asian Games.
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Feature Image Credit: Indianwomenblog.org