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No social media or friends: Young badminton star Tasnim Mir has sights set on senior rankings

Teenage shuttler Tasnim Mir shot into the limelight after becoming the first Indian to be ranked number one in the junior category. She talks to The Bridge about her immediate goals and the lofty comparisons made with badminton legends PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal.

No social media or friends: Young badminton star Tasnim Mir has sights set on senior rankings

Tasnim Mir in action at the Odisha Open (BAI)


Tazeen Qureshy

Updated: 8 Feb 2022 9:43 AM GMT

While smartphones have become a thing of the present, with online classes and games ruling the roost among urban youngsters, it is rather astonishing to see that the bug has not yet bitten shuttler Tasnim Mir. The teenage badminton sensation willingly refused to get a personal mobile set for herself, and prefers to use her mother's phone when required. Her argument is simple and straight – 'mobile phones distract.'

"I have never had a mobile phone growing up and I don't feel the urge to get one now. My mother travels with me for most of the tournaments, so I use her set when required. Of course when I am traveling alone, I do get a spare phone, but only when it is absolutely a necessity. I am not addicted to social media either. Whatever pages I have (on the social media) are managed by others," Mir reveals.

When asked if not having a personal mobile might become a hindrance for her while talking to friends, the Gujarat-born 16-year-old has an answer ready. "I don't have a lot of friends either. My focus is only on badminton."

The youngster's words not only reflects her commitment to the sport she had started playing six-seven years ago, but also echoes the respect for her parents, who she believes have gone out of their way to support her.

"My mother stays with me and travels with me for tournaments. My father and younger brother have to stay back in Gujarat and manage things on their own. I know it is difficult for them but nobody complains. They all happily endure challenges so that I can concentrate on my professional career," Mir says displaying a maturity beyond her years.

Her father was her first coach and the sole reason why she picked up the racket sport.

Want to break into top 200 by end of year: Tasnim Mir

Two weeks ago, Tasnim shot into the limelight after becoming the first Indian to be ranked as number one in the junior category.

After a successful 2021 where she won three major international titles in Bulgaria, France and Belgium, the 16-year old has her eyes set on improving her senior ranking this year. Olympics 2024, of course, is the long-term aspiration.

"Last year was wonderful. But now I am planning to participate in more international-level tournaments. I want to improve my senior ranking and break into top 200 by the end of this year" the young shuttler reveals to the Bridge. She is currently ranked 605 in the world.

Mir might not have had the perfect start for her yearly ambition as she crashed out of the BWF Odisha Open after losing to compatriot Malvika Bansod in the round of 16.

"I am not satisfied with my performance at all. I have to work a lot on my fitness and stamina," she confesses in her usual straight-forward and crisp style.

Mir has set her base in Assam since 2020, after training at the Pullela Gopichand Academy for a while. She puts in five to six hours of training every day, including on-court practice. She will be travelling to Iran next month to play in the International Challenge starting from February 7.

While the young shuttler has become a talk of the town, the recent 'stardom' has not affected her in any way. She also confidently brushes away any comparison with being the next Saina Nehwal or PV Sindhu, neither of who had secured number one rankings in the junior category.

"There is absolutely no comparison. They are legends. Their achievements are huge. It is not easy breaking into the senior circuit. I still have to work very hard for it. So, I don't pay any attention to any such comparison talks."

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