With Virudhaka XI kicking off in under a week, the members of the Badminton (Girls) team are being put through their paces. Gauri Hemant Kinikar, second year student was no exception and it was with great difficulty that she managed to squeeze out time for a short interview.
Gauri Kinikar hails from a sports family background as his father is a former Ranji Cricket player, who is also the selector for Jammu and Kashmir Ranji team, her mother is a Kabaddi player and her sister playing badminton professionally.
Gauri, who is an ardent fan of PV Sindhu, began to play the sport sine 7th standard and quickly found out she had a talent for it.
“I started playing badminton when I was in 7th standard. I used to see my seniors play badminton during my school days, the bonding and share really driven me to be part of the great sport,” she said.
Although stepping into law college forced her to discontinue the sport for a while, she picked it up again in college.
She stated that being a law student there are numerous amounts of hours has been spent in studies – ‘five hours of classes, computer work and all the stuff but when you play badminton for like two hours – It’s really a great stress-busting option which helped me a lot in many ways.’ – that even forced her to improve her own game, as she feels she found a sense of peace playing sports and also added that she can never give up on it.
“I study and study… for about 10 to 12 hours a day and I play for two hours and I already feel more refreshed and then I can start study even extend the hours as much as I want,” says Gauri, who also played a lot of state and district level competitions.
She also claimed that balancing academics and the sport has been quite difficult, but she learnt to manage time in her first years on the team.
However, practice makes perfect, and the team has indeed been working hard in pursuit of a medal.
In Virudhaka 2018, the girl’s team won two silver medals and aims to better the tally this year.
“Last year, it was my first year in college and I am not good into academics because of Virudhaka only I was very much popular in my college. We won two silver medal last year, I won in the Women’s singles category and mixed doubles as well. It was a great experience and those three days were still vivid in my memory. We can take a lot of experience from last year and build on it going into this year,” said the 20-year-0ld.
She also recalled some splendid scenes of crowd turnup to watch badminton at Virudhaka 2018 and simply said that “never ever the sport of badminton witnessed that huge number of turnup to watch the game. But last year was something quite majestic, as most of them would actually go watch the Men’s basketball team play. Last year, the badminton the court was filled like anything, I could not hear what my partner was telling. There were so many people around me and it was fun and such an incredible experience,” added Gauri.
The young shuttler further said that the team has the same goals and wants to best last year’s performance as best as they can.
“The team is looking good. We have been practising better than last time this year. And we practice with guys only. Obviously, their game is more faster than us and it’s exhilarating to play with them and learn something from each member every step of the way,” she concluded.
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