Tanisha Crasto at home in Dubai. Image Credit: Atiq Ur Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: “I am the nervous type,” Tanisha Crasto admitted as she settled into a hanging settee at her Bur Dubai residence.

“I simply can’t seem to get these small doubts out of my mind. They keep coming all the time. But once I am on the court, everything seems to just evaporate and I forget all these doubts within me,” she shrugged.

Some 11 years back, Crasto started accompanying her dad Clifford to the badminton courts at the Etisalat Academy’s Sports and Leisure Club in Al Muhaisnah 2. That early initiation paid dividends as Tanisha started playing at various UAE tournaments by the time she was seven. Two years ago, the Indian High School student embarked on a totally new phase of her career as she shifted base to India and started participating in national and international tournaments.

“The doubts were still there, but I have learnt to handle these perhaps because I am a dreamer of sorts,” she smiled.

“Ever since those early years, I’ve dreamt of everything big and badminton has always been in my head. My first dream was to play for India and the next was to win medals for my country. Over a period of time, I’ve achieved both these.”

Tanisha Crasto talks about her future plans. Image Credit: Atiq Ur Rehman/Gulf News

“But now is the time to scale these ambitions and be the best I can. The ultimate goal would be to be the world number one player. Give me another eight years and I am sure to achieve this dream.”

Next on her agenda is next month’s BWF World Junior Championships to be held in Kazan, Russia from September 30 to October 13, an event where Crasto wants to feed off and raise her level. “The sheer experience of playing against some of the best in the world is such a lovely thought to me,” Crasto admitted.

“I am meant to move higher in my career, and I need to do this for my parents who have sacrificed so much for me and for my country. I am only 16 and I realise that I have a long way to go. But, I will ensure I give it my all to ensure I achieve this dream as well,” she added.

Perhaps, one of the biggest aspect of migrating onto the big sporting stage is the mental fortitude of an individual. But Crasto takes things in her stride. “Most often my dad is always there with me when I travel, and talking to him helps a lot,” she said.

“Other than that, we have a good set of coaches who are always motivating and pushing us forward to tap our potential. I’ve had instances in the past when a mere word of encouragement has pushed us to give off not 100 per cent, but a 120 per cent on court.”

Her mum Tulip — an operations manager with Al Naboodah Cargo Services — and younger brother Cristiano, a Grade VIII student at Indian High School prefer the sidelines. But they are very much around when needed. “They are part of the support system for me,” Crasto sai

Tanisha Crasto with her many medals and trophies. Image Credit: Atiq Ur Rehman/Gulf News

Homecoming of sorts for Crasto

Dubai-born Tanisha hopes to win this week’s Junior International

Dubai: It will be a homecoming of sorts for Dubai-born-and-bred Tanisha Crasto when she starts her campaign in this week’s Dubai Junior International Badminton Tournament being played at the Nad Al Sheba (NAS) Sports Complex.

Sanctioned by Badminton Asia and the BWF and organised by UAE Badminton, Crasto will start her campaign in the girls doubles and mixed doubles on Thursday. “I want to win this one simply because this is my home tournament,” Crasto told Gulf News at her Bur Dubai residence.

“Over a period of time I have learnt that I can play as good as any of these players who are on the circuit, and winning this one in Dubai will give me that added confidence.”

Two weeks back, the 16-year-old did well at the Yonex Sunrise India Junior International Grand Prix played at the PE Society’s Modern PDMBA Sports Complex in the Western Indian city of Pune. Teaming up with regular partner Aditi Bhatt, the pair fell in the semi-finals and ended as runners-up in the mixed category with partner Ishaan Bhatnagar.

Earlier in August, Bhatt and Crasto had the perfect preparation for Pune while winning the Junior ranking tournament in Panchkula, Haryana followed by a successive crown at the Yonex-Sunrise All India Junior Ranking Badminton Tournament in Bengaluru.

“One of the regular practices I follow with my doubles partners is to sit down before any event and chalk out the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents. We discuss, break down the opponents’ games and see how best we can play to our strengths,” Crasto said.

“This week will be no different as we look forward to winning the girls and mixed doubles. I owe this to Dubai for sure.”

Play in the preliminary rounds has already started with players from more than ten nations already in action at the NAS Sports Complex. The finals of all nine age groups will be held on September 15. After her brief stay in Dubai, Crasto will head to Bengaluru to attend the two-week training camp starting later this week in preparation for the Kazan competition. The camp will be overseen by junior national coach Sanjay Mishra and continue until September 27. “The next few weeks are going to be such an important part of my dream. I want to give it my best shot. I want to succeed, for myself and for my country,” she added.