New Delhi, May 11: Teenage India junior badminton player Tasnim Mir has been a model of consistency over the past year. The 14-year-old girl from Mehsana (Gujarat) is armed with a fearless and bold attitude has been fast climbing up the charts.
A student of class X, the Gujarat girl has now shifted her base to Guwahati for her training. It has resulted in her tasting glory at the Dubai International Series and the Badminton Asia U-17 & U-15 Junior Championships last year, besides which she also found success in mixed doubles alongside Assam's Ayan Rashid.
Tasnim picked up in 2020 from where she left and made it to the semi-finals of the prestigious Dutch Junior International in a thunderous start to the new season. Her exploits in the junior tournaments catapulted her to a career-best junior BWF world ranking to 10.
With all the sporting action currently suspended due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Tasnim is now focussing on her studies apart from some training at home.
In an interview with MyKhel, the rising teenage shuttler talked about her journey so far and how she plans to take her game to the next level.
When asked about her life during the ongoing lockdown, the 14-year-old informed she's practising at home and even completing her studies. Tasnim got an opportunity to observe 'roza' (fast) in the holy month of Ramadan for she isn't doing much physical work these days.
"I am training during the lockdown and also I am keeping Rozas in this month of Ramadan. This is the first time when I am fasting. Earlier, I didn't get the chance to fast because of my practice and training.
Talking about her studies during the lockdown, she said, "I am in class X, so this break has allowed me to complete my syllabus. I am studying with the help of 'Byjus app' to complete my course. I don't take any tuitions, this learning app helps me finish my studies. Chemistry is my favourite subject. I also like reading biographies of influential persons."
When asked about who inspired her to become a badminton player she said, "My father inspired me a lot he is a coach himself and I used to accompany him to the clubs. I watched him play and train others, and that inspired me to pick up the racquet."
Initially, Tasnim learnt the basics of the game from her father but she soon joined the Gopichand Badminton Academy to fine-tune her skills. She has now shifted her base to Guwahati and trains under coach Edvin Iriawan at Assam Badminton Academy.
When asked why did she move to Guwahati, she quipped, "Actually, my mixed doubles partner Ayan Rashid trains there. I too joined him so that we can train together and improve our game. Also, playing against a boy helps me get better because boys are physically strong and this way I can train harder."
Tasnim idolises current world number one Tai Tzu Ying and watches the videos of the ace Chinese Taipei shuttler to learn from her style of play. "Tai Tzu Ying is my favourite. I like her defensive game and I watch her match videos to learn from her," she added.
When asked about her journey so far and how her confidence improved, she said, "I was happy with my performance at the Dutch Junior International. It was the first occasion when I won a medal in the U-19 tournament and gave me a lot of confidence. Now, I am determined to win more international tournaments in the coming years and gradually progress to the senior level."
"My coach is working to improve my endurance and strength because competing at the senior level isn't going to be easy for me. Girls' matches often stretch long because they play in long rallies and it is physically draining. So, I am working in this aspect but I also prefer playing attacking games like boys," she said.
Talking about the experiences she gained from the international tours, Tasnim said she's observed how the shuttlers of her age group from other countries train.
"I have realised the players from Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, etc. are physically very strong and they work very hard on their game. I try to learn from them. I also realised our training is almost as good as theirs because we also get to train under renowned foreign and Indian coaches. In the last couple of years, the Indian shuttlers are also putting a lot of effort into physical fitness."
Talking about her mental strength Tasnim informed that she picked up drawing and painting on the advice of her psychologist.
"My psychologist suggested me to draw and paint for that will help my mind to remain calm. She has also given me some mind exercises which help me improve my concentration. She also conducts video sessions regularly to help me stay focussed. It also helps me with my studies," stated Tasnim.