Badminton's loss is squash's gain: 14-year-old Anahat Singh is all set for Commonwealth Games debut
An ardent PV Sindhu fan and a keen badminton enthusiast, 14-year-old squash sensation Anahat Singh hopes to catch her idol in action as she too prepares for glory at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Fourteen-year-old squash sensation Anahat Singh, among the youngest to represent India at the upcoming Commonwealth Games, hopes to bump into her role model P V Sindhu over the course of her stay in Birmingham. Anahat's desire to meet India's most decorated shuttler doesn't come as a surprise considering she played badminton before deciding to make a career out of squash.
As a 6-7 seven-year-old, the Delhi-based girl watched the likes of Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Lee Chong Wei play in the Indian Open at the Siri Fort Complex here and since then she has not been able to flush badminton out of her system.
Speaking to PTI ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Anahat said she remains a badminton lover to date but switched to squash as she found the sport more exciting.
"I used to play badminton before and I have watched Sindhu play in Delhi. I hope I get to see her during the Games. On the squash front, it is really exciting as well. The players I have looked up to, I will be playing and travelling with them," said Anahat referring to the accomplished duo of Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal.
Her elder sister Amira Singh too is a squash player which contributed immensely to Anahat taking up the sport.
"She loved badminton but as parents, we used to travel with Amira for tournaments and Anahat did not want to be left alone in the house. That also played a big part in her switching to squash from badminton," remembered Anahat's mother Tani Vadehra Singh.
"Though she left playing badminton a long time ago, she still watches it on TV and remains connected with her coach as well."
Anahat's first major squash title came in 2019 when she won the prestigious British Open in the U-11 category. More recently, she won the U-15 Asian Junior title and German Open to make a strong case for selection in the Commonwealth Games squad.
Save Egypt, all top squash-playing nations are part of the Commonwealth making the field really tough. India has won three medals in CWG history but is yet to win one in singles.
From someone who recently turned 14, the expectations are not high but Anahat wants to give her best in easily the biggest event of her blossoming career.
"I don't know if I can win a medal or not but I will try to play at my best," said Anahat, who will be playing the singles and women's doubles alongside Sunayna Kuruvilla. It was a surreal experience for Anahat to train with the likes of Dipika and Joshna in the training camp last week. She also got to work with former world number one Gregory Gaultier, who was in Chennai for a five-day camp.
"It was my first time playing with professional players. They told me what to expect from a big event like the CWG. I will get another couple of days to train with the team before flying to Birmingham," said Anahat, who will be eligible to turn professional after turning 15 next year. She will be travelling to Birmingham with dreamy eyes and that could be the start of something special.