Since the beginning of May, Naithaolin Calvin Golmei has been living out of a suitcase. In pursuit of glistening trophies and surge in AITA rankings, Calvin travelled hundreds of miles starting from Imphal, his native place. Even though he had to battle fatigue, unpredictable weather and personal demons, his sojourn in Imphal, Mumbai and Ahmedabad, where is currently taking part in an AITA National Series tournament, has been full of unforgettable memories which he will carry his whole life.
He was overwhelmed with emotions after winning the AITA U-16 Championship Series tennis tournament and lifting the shining trophy in front of his friend and relatives in Imphal. He then let out a big roar, as if he was letting go of his pent-up emotion, when he made it to the semi-finals of the U-16 category of the Ramesh Desai memorial national tennis championship in Mumbai.
“I was feeling great and confident when I was on the court. I am glad that my game clicked in Mumbai and I managed to reached the semi-finals. I have been working hard on my game and I am glad that it paid off,” shared the player who defeated his CLTA-mate and sixth seed Sumit Pal Singh in the quarter-finals.
After a brilliant week that culminated in a top four finish at the nationals in Mumbai, Calvin then took off to Ahmedabad where he capped off another great week by reaching the singles’ final of the U-16 AITA Super Series tournament and lifting the boys’ doubles title with his doubles partner Aman Patel.
Currently occupying the number 32 spot in AITA U-16 rankings, Calvin has made a rapid progress and added almost a dozen trophies in his cabinet.
His first AITA singles title came in the form of an AITA Talent Series at Ambala in January last year and four months later, he picked up the under-14 AITA Championship Series title at Amritsar.
But his breakthrough performance came at the AITA National Series tennis tournament in Mumbai in May last year where he teamed up with his practice partner, Rishabh Sharda, and clinched the doubles title by defeating the top seeds.
On a roll
Even though Calvin is soaking in the adulation, he wouldn’t have thought of achieving success in such a short span of time when he first picked up the racquet six years ago.
Coming from Manipur, where kids his age dream of becoming another Bhutia or Chhetri, Calvin dared to dream differently.
Unlike others, who would spent the nightime watching football matches on the television, Calvin savoured the flashes of brilliance from Roger Federer on the TV set.
“I was always interested in tennis while my friends and kids from the neighbourhood would play football. I never missed watching Grand Slams on TV and I grew up idolising Roger Federer. My father, who played basketball for the state team, once asked me to pick up a sport which I wanted to learn. I chose tennis and then he took me to the Officer’s Club at Lamphelpat. I first learnt the basics of the game there,” shared the 15-year-old.
Even though he won an under-12 title in a local tournament, his chances of making it big in Imphal were bleak as the facilities were inadequate. His father then decided to send Calvin to Chandigarh where he enrolled himself at CLTA.
Under the guidance of coaches Romen Singh and Gajendra Singh, he made rapid strides and blossomed into a fine player.
Currently taking part in the AITA National Series tennis tournament in Ahmedabad, Calvin, a student of DAV School, Sector 15, is looking forward to come up with another good perfromance at the AITA Rankings men and women `1 lakh tennis tournament to be held in Chandigarh next month.