Like in Indian basketball, there are 'Singh Sisters' in the country's squash fraternity too, where 18-year-old Amira and her 13-year-old sister Anahat are top ranked juniors in their respective categories. If that wasn't enough, Amira, a student of British School in Chanakyapuri, will be flying to Boston this year to study economics and pursue her passion at the prestigious Harvard University.
But will India's junior No. 1 (U-19) be able to strike a balance between studying economics at the Harvard and play the game at the highest level? "That's what her aim is. The current world No. 1 Ali Farag of Egypt graduated from the Harvard with a degree in mechanical engineering. Harvard University has an excellent squash team along with some of the best coaches.
It will help her (Amira) grow as a player," mother Tani Vadehra Singh told PTI on Saturday. "She was always good in academics and was able to balance both. That was also one of the reasons that the university selected her," she added. Amira has represented India at the Asian and World Junior Championship and was a member of the bronze medal-winning team at the continental event. Her most distinguished international performance is her bronze medal-winning performance at the Scottish Open Junior Championship In Edinburgh in December, 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic broke.
In India, sports often forces talented youngsters to treat academics as secondary but for Amira's parents, lawyer father Gursharan Singh and businesswoman mother Tani, it was always about striking the right balance. "She has studied as much as she has trained. I can tell you that a couple of years back when she was having her board exams and the Indian junior team trials was being held at Noida, she would write her board papers and then rush off to the trials and managed that with only three hours of sleep," the mother recalled.
Squash is still not an Olympic sport but the likes of Saurav Ghosal, Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal have had a lot of success at the Asiad and Commonwealth Games. "That's the target we have set for her. To represent India at the CWG and Asian Games in the future," Singh said. While Amira will be starting a new journey which promises to be exhilarating, the younger sister Anahat herself isn't doing too badly either, considering she's just into her teens. "She was a good badminton player but when she saw my elder daughter doing well in squash, she also picked up the game," the mother said about her younger daughter, who is now India No. 1 in the U-15 category.
Anahat has been the national champion twice and won around 50 tournaments but her biggest accomplishments in a short span would certainly be winning gold and silver at the acclaimed British Junior Open in 2019 and 2020. The sisters get a lot of good feedback about how the game is at the top level from former India player and world doubles runners-up Ritwick Bhattacharya. They train at the Siri Fort and also at Vasant Kunj under Amjad Khan and former top national level player Gaurav Nandrajog.