Aaradhana, India’s junior Squash no.5 talks about her journey so far.
Nineteen-year-old Aaradhana Kasturiraj is a budding squash player. She is cutting the waves to make her name in Squash in India. She presently ranked 5th in U-19 girl’s category. She has represented India in Dutch Junior at Amsterdam and British Junior Open in Birmingham.
Fisto Sports did an exclusive interview with her journey so far and her goals for the future.
What’s the worst mistake you’ve made on field and how did you deal with it?
Losing points would make me very frustrate but I learned how to convert my frustration into power so that I could use it on the ball and it plays to my advantage.
Aaradhana, how do you balance sports and studies?
My mum and dad make sure I get the best of training and play all possible tournaments. My dad accompanies me to a majority of them and when he can’t then my mom travels with me. My mom always made sure that I was up to date when I was in school. She made sure that I had all of notes and my friends would make sure I get my submission on time. And my school has always been very supportive of me pursuing the sport.
If you could wake up tomorrow in the body of another athlete, who would it be and what would you do?
Just imagine I wake up one day as Usain Bolt playing a different, probably squash, would be hilarious when headlines read – “Bolt playing Squash”
What is one habit that you want to break?
Overcoming my nervous before the match which I have been working on every day and soon I’ll make sure I achieve it.
What drives you to get up and go training every day?
There’s a reason I play the sport and I have a dream to fulfill. Hence, I have to take up the challenge and wake up every morning and seize every opportunity I get from training.
Any pre-match rituals you follow?
I always speak to my dad and my coaches and after the match I always analyse what I need to work on when I get back to training.
One win that you are very proud of.
Not yet but when I do, I hope it’s not just one win I’d be proud of.
Lamest excuse you have ever given to your teacher?
During my school days I used give an excuse that I had blisters in my hand so I couldn’t take down any notes.
What does it mean to you to represent India?
That would probably be one of my biggest achievements to represent the country and win a medal for India. Hopefully, I’ll make it soon and I’m pretty sure it’ll be the best feeling in the world.
What would be your ultimate achievement?
Being an Olympian and winning a medal for India at the Olympics.
Hopefully squash will make it into the 2024 Olympics and hopefully I will too.
How will you want to be known in 10 years from now?
Probably as somebody who has had an impact in the world, somebody who has made history and to inspire others to take up the sport.
In what area of your game do you think you need to improve?
I still have to work on my movement like concentrating on agility, speed and more sport specific movement.
Who do you want be the flag bearer for India in ‘TOKYO OLYMPICS 2020’?
Dipa Karmakar, not because of winning medals, also she broke the stereotypes and proved that women can also be best in the sport and achieve more for the country.
What are the initial hurdles you faced and how did you tackle them?
Initially I found it very hard to wake up early in the morning but over a period time by regular practices it became a routine and now it’s hard to sleep over 8 on Sundays.
Perk of being an athlete
It’s an incredible feeling being an athlete, you get lots of chance to travel across the world and meet new people in every new tournament you play.
Your first match for India. Tell us about it
I haven’t represented the country at the world’s or the Asians yet. I recently played the British Junior open and placed 24th. My first international tournament was the Dutch Open 2016 and it was a very different experience. I played some of my best squash and with a free mind. I finished 14th in the tournament.
What are your secret skills?
I give my dogs very good belly rubs.
If you could get a tattoo, what would it be?
It’s a secret, hopefully my parents let me get one and it doesn’t remain a secret.
One subject you like and one you hate the most
At the moment, my favorite subject is ‘Law of Crime’ and a subject I’ve disliked is ‘chemistry’
Best sports movie ever. Why?
“Greater” and “Goal 1” – because these two movie not only make you stand up and cheer for the athletes who have overcome a huge challenges but also learn the important lessons along the way.
Your short and long term goals
My short term goal is to make it to the World juniors in coming July, 2018, and the long term goal is to win an Olympic medal
What’s on your bucket list?
There is a lot is on my bucket list but a few are to go trekking in the Himalayas, go to Norway and witness the Northern Lights and make a trip to Antarctica with my dad.
What is the scariest experience you have ever had?
One of my scariest experiences which I will never forget was when I tried to drive my car alone for the first time.
Your most embarrassing moment?
There haven’t been too many embarrassing things happen to me recently to be honest.
One super power you wish you had, how would you use it?
It would be funny I have the power to read minds of others and find out what they actually want to say because it is usually not what they do say.
Your partners in crime?
My two friends – My Shih Tzu and Lokesh – will always be partners in crime through thick and thin.
Your favorite team?
Probably “Chennai Super Kings” because it’s probably the only time I watch cricket and actually it’s Dhoni’s team rather than CSK.
Who do you think is the greatest Indian athlete of all time?
Sania Mirza, it’s because she broke a lot of barriers to be in the position of what she is now and until Sania no other tennis player from this sub-continent were successful at the world stage. And both Usain Bolt and Muhammad Ali are my favorite athlete as they are one of a kind in their own sports.
One message to your opponents
I don’t want to say anything to my opponents as whatever happens in the court stays in the court.
Your biggest inspiration
My sister, Aarathy Kasturiraj is one of my biggest inspirations. She’s India’s fastest speed skater and my best sister.
Your biggest achievements so far
My biggest Achievement is making it into the fifth position of the national squash ranking in the Under 19 Girls category.
Tournaments of 2017
3rd at the CCI Squash open 2017 in Mumbai
4th at the ISA Jnr Open in Chennai,
4th at Bengal Jnr Open in Calcutta
6th Jnr Squash Nationals at Ajmer
14th at the Dutch Jnr. Open at Amsterdam
24th at the British Jnr Open in Birmingham
Your National Ranking?
5th rank in the Under 19 Girls category of in the National Squash ranking