A few months ago, Ashmita Chaliha, as part of the Indian badminton team, got a marvel while she walked into her room at the Asian Games village in Jakarta. Unpacking her bags interior turned into Saina Nehwal. “I, in reality, could not accept as true with I became going to be sharing a room with Saina. It becomes such a surreal moment for me. I failed even to say something till Saina requested me if I desired to get something to consume,” says Chaliha. The 19-year-vintage was best a part of the minor berths of the Asian Games squad and in no way even were given to play an unmarried fit in Indonesia. She nevertheless, although, marvels at the opportunity to the percentage the equal area with the greats of Indian and Asian badminton. “I was given pics with Lin Dan and Kento Momota too,” she says. But Chaliha may not be glad about in reality rubbing shoulders for tons longer. Many veterans of the game don’t forget her most of the brightest prospects for the following technology of Indian women’s singles gamers. She reached the semifinals of the National Championships in Guwahati, before happening to Olympic silver medalist PV Sindhu. Chaliha had her moments in that loss too, main 19-16 at one point within the 2nd game earlier than sooner or later taking place 21-10 22-20. “Of all the approaching players I have seen in Guwahati, I changed into inspired the most via Ashmita. Her fashion of play is maximum perfect for success on the worldwide degree,” says former countrywide coach Vimal Kumar.
Vimal had watched the match in Guwahati along four-time All England champion Morten Frost who he says echoed his sentiments. “Morten too thought she has the maximum capability,” he says. Chaliha’s opponent in that semifinal, Sindhu, to appears to agree. “I have been seeing her for a long term. She has improved a lot, and she has were given a few great strokes. If she works difficult, she will be able to come up. She will do well in multiple years,” Sindhu said after the in shape. While she is being marked out as one to look at for the destiny, badminton wasn’t even Chaliha’s first interest. Assam has produced top gamers in the past – along with Dipankar Bhattacharya who gained three national titles and represented India on the 1992 and 1996 Olympics – but there were few gamers of the word in latest years. “I failed to care too much about badminton once I become young. My dad turned into a tennis participant, and he desired me to play a sport. The best motive I picked up badminton was because our domestic changed into close to the Sports Authority of India in Guwahati in which they had been coaching badminton,” says Chaliha. Her interest grew as she started out triumphing age institution titles; however additionally as Saina emerged onto the countryside scene. “I could comply with the whole lot Saina did. When she stored triumphing, I additionally wanted to be like her,” she says. But Saina became handiest certainly one of Chaliha’s effect.
In her room,a poster of Saina stocks spaces with Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei. Chaliha says she attempts to play like the 3-time Olympic silver medalist as much as she will. It’s that factor of her sport it truly is, in particular, draws eyeballs. “She performs not like most Indian ladies gamers,” says Vimal. “She’ll chase the whole thing; she’ll make excellent saves, and dive for the entirety. You can almost say she has a boy’s sport.” Chaliha admits that is so. “I practice with the lads. I’ve constantly done that. I don’t have a ‘girly-girl’ recreation.” This doesn’t marvel Suranjan Bhobhora, Chaliha’s instruct in Guwahati. “She’s constantly recognized greater with the men’s singles gamers,” he says. It isn’t always simply her retrieving that attracts from the guys’s recreation. “You won’t see many girls’s gamers who hit quite a few jump smashes but she does that.”
Chaliha’scareer took massive strides in 2018, wherein she received worldwide titles – the TATA Open and Dubai International – and additionally qualified for the Asian Games squad after prevailing a senior ranking tournament in Hyderabad. There’s admittedly a protracted way for Chaliha to head but. She’s simplest ranked 179 in the international and there’s work to be carried out on her recreation, but Vimal is optimistic. “She’s got lots of advantages. She’s tough to play as a left passed player because there’s so few of them in global badminton [Carolina Marin is perhaps the most successful in women’s game in recent years]. She’s also very fast, pretty young and he or she would not seem as injury inclined as either Rituparna Das or Ruthvika Shivani Gadde [who were expected to be the next generation of Indian badminton]. She has all the strokes. But she wishes e forxtra health. She wishes to paintings on her temperament and attitude. She once in a while offers up and you can see her shoulders drop,” says Vimal. The hole that stays among her and the very exceptional turned into apparent to Chaliha herself in her loss to Sindhu. “There have been moments where I become in control of the game but I permit it to loss. I were given too nervous and I made errors. There had been times in which I become catching her h;owever I became no longer capable of build on that. She is a world-magnificence participant and she knows while to push herself even extra. That turned into the distinction,” admits Chaliha. While there may be room for improvement, what the teenager from Guwahati additionally has is time. “I’ve made the semifinals which I turned into not watching for so I’m glad that I were given this a long way. But I know I can’t be glad. I’m going to work with educate Erwin [Iriawan, who joined the Assam Badminton Academy in 2017 after a stint with the Indonesian National team] on my strength a lot more this yr. Although I’m fast, I’m still no longer sturdy enough. I’m also going to play some more small tournaments,” she says.