Despite making quite a splash in the past couple of years, it would be a miracle if at the end of the quadrennial extravaganza, Neha Aggarwal heads home with a medal. Reality bites and even thoughts of a quarterfinal berth would be far-fetched.
Thanks to her impressive performances in recent times, Neha has reasons to smile but Olympics will be a different cup of tea, and the debutant knows it well. "Qualifying for the Olympics itself is a big achievement for me, but I hope to cause a few upsets at least," Neha said in a matter-of-fact way.
Olympic qualification was a big step forward in her career and the experience will certainly help sharpen her skills and improve her overall game. But a few big wins in the domestic circuit here and there and even fewer victories at the international level are not enough to raise hopes of a medal at the Games.
"Beijing Olympics is a lifetime opportunity and I'm hope to gain good experience there," Neha, who qualified by winning a quota place from the South Asian region by beating the fancied Poulomi Ghatak and Mouma Das, said.
"I'm not under any kind of pressure and have got nothing to lose since the top players of the world will be vying for medals there. I'm still a junior and Olympics is a senior level tournament," she added. And this nothing-to-lose frame of mind might just work in her favour.
Poulomi Ghatak and Mouma Das have been dominating the scene for long and Neha's recent wins over them have obviously boosted her confidence.
"They are very experienced and by playing against them on a regular basis I have learnt how to compete at the senior level," Neha said.
Asked about her preparations, Neha expressed satisfaction and said, "I'm concentrating on improving my consistency which would be crucial in Beijing.
"I also need to be much quicker on the table, especially against the Chinese, the Koreans and the Europeans, and be steady all the time," Neha said.