Meet the brightest star from Pune’s badminton courts, Tara Shah

Fourteen-year-old, Tara Shah, was awarded the player of the tournament for the Pune District Badminton Championship which concluded on Saturday.
Shah, the Pune-based teenager, was one of the busiest shuttlers during the tournament held at the Modern Sports Complex in Shivajinagar. On June 7, when quarter-final and semi-final games were scheduled, Shah played eight matches in a single day.(Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)
Shah, the Pune-based teenager, was one of the busiest shuttlers during the tournament held at the Modern Sports Complex in Shivajinagar. On June 7, when quarter-final and semi-final games were scheduled, Shah played eight matches in a single day.(Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jun 10, 2019 04:31 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Pune | ByJigar Hindocha, Pune

Fourteen-year-old, Tara Shah, was awarded the player of the tournament for the Pune District Badminton Championship which concluded on Saturday.

Shah, the Pune-based teenager, was one of the busiest shuttlers during the tournament held at the Modern Sports Complex in Shivajinagar. On June 7, when quarter-final and semi-final games were scheduled, Shah played eight matches in a single day.

As soon as one match finished, Shah was spotted outside the courts with her mother having a banana and then, quickly getting back to the court with a new kit to face the opponent. Till 8:30pm on that day, there was no sign of fatigue on the determined teen’s face and she looked fresh for each encounter.

Shah took part in four events — girls under-17 and under-19; women’s single and mixed doubles event in the under-19 category.

She won the title in the mixed doubles event and under-19 event. She lost the final of the women’s category and in the under-17 event, she went down in the semi-final.

Tara Shah during the Pune District Badminton Championship. (Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)
Tara Shah during the Pune District Badminton Championship. (Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)

“I pushed myself hard and the credit goes to my parents and my hard work. My parents were continuously taking care of my food and water, so I just had to focus on the match,” said Shah, who had participated in five events during the 2018 edition of the tournament.

“This year, I did not participated in under-15 singles’ event. The tournament was very good for me and most of the players whom I faced were from my academy (Nikhil Kanetkar Badminton Academy, NKBA) so, I had played with them on a day-to-day basis. Few of the players whom I faced, were from outside the academy and they were really good,” added Shah, who has been training at NKBA since the last four years under coaches Mayank Gole and Anil Modak.

2018 was a fruitful year for Shah as along with participating in the all India ranking tournaments, she also took part in international tournaments. “I went to Israel and the Netherlands to play tournaments. But when I went there were hardly any top players participating in those tournaments, so it turned out to be easy for me,” added Shah.

When it comes to competition – Shah thinks that Pune district has very high quality players and they are superior as compared to other districts.

“The level of this year’s tournament was very tough. Especially in the girls’ events, most of the players were very good, so it helps you to develop your game while playing against these shuttlers,” added Shah.

Basic bio

Name: Tara Shah

Academy: Nikhil Kanetkar Badminton Academy

Age: 14

Class: 9

School: Vidya Valley School, Sus Gaon Pashan

Performance during the Pune District Badminton Championship

Participated in four events (Singles under-17, under-19 and women’s categories and mix doubles event in under-19 category)

Under-17: Lost in semi-final against Riya Habbu 17-21, 13-21

Under-19: Won the title defeating Riya Kunjir 21-18, 21-15

Mix doubles (u-19): Won the title along with partner Sasmit Patil defeating Harshal Jadhav and Riya Kunjir 16-21, 21-16, 21-13

Women’s event: Lost the final against Purva Barve 16-21, 16-21

Tara’s most memorable achievements till date (in chronological order)

2014: Winning the Maharashtra state sub-junior championships in Nashik in the under-10 girls category (her first state-level title)

2017: Winner of all India sub-junior ranking badminton tournament, Jaipur, in under- 13 category (first title at the national level)

2018: Winner of all India sub-junior ranking badminton tournament, Gulbarga, under-15 category (Tara won this all India title in the first year of her entering the under-15 category)

2018: Winner of all India sub-junior ranking badminton tournament, Hyderabad, in under-15 category (this was a selection tournament for the Asian sub-junior badminton championships- the win got her into the Indian team for the sub-junior Asian badminton championship in Myanmar)

2018: Represented India in the under-15 category for the Badminton Asia junior under-17 and under-15 championships held in Myanmar, where she reached the quarter-finals

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