Dubai-based Tanisha Crasto, one of India’s top juniors in badminton
Dubai-based Tanisha Crasto. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: From a starry-eyed little girl to a star herself, the homecoming for Dubai-born Tanisha Crasto as part of the Indian team for the Asia Badminton Mixed Team Championship adds a new chapter in her young career.

“I am excited. I have played team championships, before but this one is really special because it’s happening at my home turf, my ground,” told Tanisha in an exclusive interview to Gulf News.

Also read

Tanisha, who as a budding UAE talent, was watching the likes of Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu play in the BWF Superseries Finals in Dubai from 2014 to 2017. But now Tanisha will be part of the Indian team, along with 2019 World champion Sindhu, for the Asia Badminton Mixed Team championship.

Looking forward

After missing a place in the Indian team 2022 Commonwealth Games, Tanisha and her mixed doubles partner Ishaan Bhatnagar ensured that they grabbed this opportunity with both hands and win the trials to showcase her talents at Expo City Dubai.

“We wanted to be in the team anyhow, for that we had to win the trials on January 2. So we could not really celebrate the new year as we had to travel from Hyderabad to Delhi. Now I am happy to be part of the Indian team and more happy because I am at my home turf, but representing India,” said Tanisha, who likes to look forward and not dwell on the past failures. The teenager is travelling back from Thailand to Hyderabad after losing in the pre-quarterfinals in the Thailand Masters and will be travelling back to Dubai early next week.

Playing first time in front of her friends, family and former teammates add any pressure on her performance?

“I think more than pressure, I would take it as an exciting tournament, where I want to give my best. I am sure I will give my best as I will have the crowd support for me. It would be lovely to play in front of them,” added the 19-year-old former Indian High School student.

There will be no dearth of support for Tanisha as the organisers, Beyond Boundaries, are planning several community and club-based initiatives and that includes India Club, where she has played several events in the past.

Tanisha Crasto_03-1659198258209
Crasto aims to ease her way into the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The last few months have been very good for Tanisha and Ishaan as they have made a meteoric rise in the mixed doubles rankings. Now she targets to take it higher to ease her way into the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

“Our goal for 2022 was to make the top 30, but we shot up to 18. We are in the top 20, that’s a big achievement,” said Tanisha, her voice belying the excitement after achieving her target. “The goal for this year would be to play well in the major tournaments as it is an Olympic qualification year. We need to perform really well if we need to maintain our goal to go up in our ranking. That is the goal for the year and perform well in the coming tournaments.”

Tanisha apart from the mixed doubles, is now focusing on the women’s doubles where she partners veteran shuttler Ashwini Ponnappa. The duo lost in the round of 32 in the Thailand Masters, but failed to qualify for the Dubai event.

Tanisha hails the team spirit among the players in the Indian team and says being part of the squad and watching some the best in the field made her learn how to cope with the pressure and how to win key moments.

Own style

“There’s so much to learn from the stars, each one of them is unique in their own style, attitude, never-say-die spirit and how to stay calm and composed during the crucial moments. More than anything the team support and the team unity they have towards each other is amazing,” Tanisha proudly, citing the recent Thomas Cup final where all the Indian women team members were vociferously supporting the men as they went on to win the title.

Talking about Tanisha, P.V. Sindhu was effusive in her praise for her younger teammate during an interview with Gulf News.

“She’s really good player and she’s playing really well. She’s a sweet and hardworking girl who is doing well in doubles and mixed doubles. She knows what it takes to become a champion. In the coming years, she will definitely do well and get a name for herself and for the country,” said two-time Olympic medallist.