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

Dubai: Dubai-based Tanisha Crasto, one of India’s top juniors in badminton, has expressed renewed hope and optimism after the world governing body for the sport announced fresh dates for the Barfoot & Thompson BWF World Junior Championships 2020.

The competition was scheduled to be held in Auckland, New Zealand in September this year, but with the world tackling the coronavirus pandemic, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) has now re-scheduled the event from January 11 to 24, 2021.

Tanisha Crasto relaxes between training sessions
Tanisha Crasto relaxes between training sessions Image Credit: Supplied

“It is better to have a competition when all players are back at their best form,” Crasto told Gulf News from her home in Bur Dubai.

“It has been a bad time for all of us as professional sportspersons. It’s like all of us, even though we have been in the same boat, we may be at various stages of fitness and level of play. So everyone will need to come back and get their touch before any sort of competition happens anywhere in the world.”

As a Grade 12 commerce student at The Indian High School (IHS), Dubai, the teen who turned 17 on May 5, has a full day of activity before her following the relaxation in pandemic protocol by the government. But much of her time goes into attending online classes starting from 7am and going on until 3pm daily.

Inbetween, Crasto makes the time for at least two training sessions conducted via Zoom by her trainer and coach from the Hyderabad-based Gopichand Badminton Academy.

“The focus at the moment is to ensure more on my academics, while also paying due attention to my evolution as a player. From the look of it, I can see myself being in Dubai for the next few months at least, after which I think things will get clearer on whether travel is possible or not,” Crasto said.

The BWF World Junior Championships consists of a World Junior Mixed Team Championships (from January 11 to 16) and the World Junior Championships (from January 18 to 24).

Crasto was part of the India squad in the girls and mixed doubles during the 2019 BWF World Junior Championship held in Kazan, Russia from September 30 to October 13, last year. In the girls’ doubles, the Goan girl had partnered Aditi Bhatt, while featuring in the mixed doubles alongside Chattisgarh partner Ishaan Bhatnagar.

“As per the rules laid down by the BAI [Badminton Association of India], I will still need to first participate in a Selection Tournament before the squad is announced,” Crasto said.

“So for me the main thing at this moment is to stay fit and improve on the touch and quality of my game. Doing nothing with a racquet for more than two months can have a bearing on the game. So, right now I am focused on this part of gradually easing into being at my best on court.”

Crasto burst onto the international scene while winning the women’s doubles event at the 2016 Bahrain International Challenge partnering Aprilsasi Putri Lejarsar Variella. The following year, the 14-year-old IHS student wrote her own bit of history by winning the women’s singles crown at the 2017 Indian Club UAE Open.

Now, with Dubai Government easing out on regulations, Crasto goes to the Prime Star Sport Academy located in neighbouring Karama. “The plan is to just keep on doing what I have started. Thankfully, I have at least a court where I can train and engage online with my coach and trainer from the academy in Hyderabad,” Crasto said.

“I want to be at my best, and this is going to take some time for sure. I am slowly getting my rhythm and touch. The fitness will come and so will the extra things needed to be at my best whenever the competitions get under way. Till then, this is pretty much going to be the routine for me.”

The BWF press release has announced that only those athletes eligible for the originally scheduled championships will be allowed to enter. The BWF believes that the new time frame will give everyone concerned the best chance to stage a successful event for the large volume of junior players expected to travel to Auckland.

Currently, Crasto is within qualifying to represent India as she is second best among the Indian juniors as per latest BWF rankings. Crasto is joint No.19 with Aditi Bhatt, while Treesa Jolly is the highest-ranked Indian at No. 12 in the girls’ doubles. In the mixed doubles, she is tied at no.45 with partner Ishaan Bhatnagar even as fellow Indians Ayan Rashid and Tasnim Mir are up at No. 32.