AUGUSTO RODRIGUES | NT
Tanisha Crasto was ranked 12th in the Junior Girls doubles in India before she was inducted in the Gopichand Badminton Academy on May 6, 2019. Three months down the line, she is ranked fourth in doubles and eleventh in mixed doubles. And, the path for the nineteen-year-old from Goa has just begun.
“My coaches are focusing more on improving the psychological and mental aspects of my game. It is a big world outside India where the pressures are immense and how one responds to those pressures depends on how well one is psychologically prepared. I am learning, but it will take me time to reach there,” Tanisha Crasto tells the Navhind Times over the phone from her Academy in Hyderabad.
Tanisha – born to Goan parents living in the Gulf — began playing in Dubai but always wanted to be part of the Indian badminton setup. Hence, her regular visits to participate in tournaments in India. She started as a singles player and is now being groomed as a doubles and mixed doubles player.
“My dream was to play in singles and be the best. However, my coaches in the Academy think I am better in the doubles and mixed doubles style of play and are therefore tutoring me to this format. It does not make a difference to me now because my ultimate aim is to be the best in whichever category I play. I have been doing very well in doubles and mixed doubles now and am confident of where I will land one day,” claims Tanisha.
“I am given a chance to choose the doubles or mixed doubles partner I feel comfortable with but ultimately the decision is made by my coaches because they know best with which partner I can produce better. I always go by their choice because they are the professionals,” observes Tanisha.
Tanisha learns badminton at the Academy and does her studies through an education institution in Dubai. I have been given leave not to appear for classes by my school but have to go to answer my exams. That means that during my exams I keep away from tournaments and concentrate on my studies and regular badminton practice in Dubai,” emphasises Tanisha when asked to explain how she balances studies and playing badminton in the Academy.
“I am not a brilliant student. I would consider myself to be average. For me it is important that I pass because my focus is on my game,” admits Tanisha. “There are some players in the Academy who pay a lot of attention to their studies. But I do not consider myself in that class,” says Tanisha.
Tanisha has seen life in the Gulf and is now seeing life through the prism of an Academy and despite the dissimilarities the player thinks giving up a little for the ultimate goal is akin to not giving up at all. “I had the freedom to eat what I wanted when I was at home, though there was a diet followed. Here, there is a diet but no freedom to eat what I want. I have learnt certain food patterns since I joined the Academy and it is basically about eating the same diet through the week. It is different from what I used to eat but this is what I need to eat if I want to be the best,” thinks Tanisha.
From family, friends she has grown up with in school and life with inmates of the hostel. Tanisha sees a trajectory, a shift from the known to unknown, one that she believes she has to close down on as she prepares to control the flight of the shuttle.
“I am with different kind of people in the Academy. The personalities here are different and the atmosphere is also very different. It is a very competitive setup because all of us are in a place where all want to be the best. We are friends but friends with a very competitive edge,” acknowledges Tanisha.
Tanisha is not the only Goan in the Gopichand Academy. She shares the room with Goa’s Anura Prabhudesai, who is the first woman player from Goa to be ranked number one in India. Anura is now ranked 6.
“I am happy and lucky to share my room with Anura. She is a great inspiration to me and keeps me away from feeling home sick,” admits Tanisha.
“I want to get the number one ranking in India,” professes Tanisha when asked how she looks at herself on May 6, 2020. When she does get her ranking, she will be the second woman to show the colours of shuttles in Goa.