New kid on the block: 15-year-old Tanvi hopes to emulate Sindhu’s aggression in Uber Cup

PTI, Apr 15, 2024, 7:51 PM IST

Tanvi Sharma (Source: Instagram @tanvisharma8607)

New Delhi: Groomed by a sports-loving mother, inspired by the peerless P V Sindhu and aspiring to be Indian badminton’s aggressive new kid on the block. Tanvi Sharma is nothing like an average 15-year-old.

Her claim to limited fame at this point is the fact that she is the youngest member of India’s women’s squad for this month’s Thomas and Uber Cup in Chengdu, China.

“I want to become like Sindhu didi, she is my inspiration. I watch all her matches. It was great to just be around her in Malaysia, she was very friendly,” gushed Tanvi in a telephonic interview with PTI, recalling her experience of observing the double Olympic-medallist during the Badminton Asia Team Championships where she was part of the squad but did not play.

The teen from Hoshiarpur in Punjab didn’t have to go far for encouragement to take up badminton. Her elder sister Radhika played the sport and her volleyball-playing mother Meera made the effort to learn the nuances of badminton coaching to teach the two girls.

Tanvi didn’t take long to make an impression. She became the U-15 and U-17 national champion before finishing runner-up at the U-19 final in 2022.

Last year, the bubbly youngster won the silver medal in the Asian U-15 Junior Championships in China, apart from winning the title in Kotak India International. She ended the year with a runner-up finish at the Senior Nationals in Guwahati.

Almost as much as any of her other achievements, she cherishes the spent time observing Sindhu at the BATC in Shah Alam.

Tanvi may not have played in the competition but she got a fair idea of what winning a big event felt like as India claimed its first-ever gold.

Tanvi said that one week in February was educative.

“I wasn’t sad to miss out. I was happy to be part of that team. It was a big moment in my life, I learnt so much just by observing the seniors, especially Sindhu didi. My confidence really went up after that event,” she said.

It was also the time when she saw another teenager’s life change. It was none other than her 17-year-old roommate Anmol Kharb, who earned accolades for putting up a lion-hearted show while playing the deciding third singles for India.

Tanvi, who has defeated Anmol in the past, was nursing an injury at that stage.

A month and a half before the continental team championships, she came close to beating Anmol in the finals of the Senior National Championships in Guwahati before a hamstring injury cut short her run.

“I couldn’t play in BATC as I had just recovered from the injury and Anmol was playing excellent. I had a muscle jerk in my hamstring in the decider in the finals of Nationals. So I took one and a half months to regain fitness,” said the 10th standard student.

While the injury delayed her plan to embark on the Tour, Tanvi was picked for the Uber Cup and she is looking forward to doing well at the prestigious event, starting on April 27.

“I am really excited to be part of the Indian team again, I will give my best. It will be a very good exposure for me,” said the soft-spoken teen, who will share the singles workload along with Ashmita Chaliha, Isharani Baruah and Anmol in the absence of Sindhu, who pulled out of the event.

“I want to include Sindhu didi’s aggression in my game. This year, I will try to focus on international series and international challengers and world junior championships.

“Badminton Association of India (BAI) and OGQ (Olympic Gold Quest)help me to go for the international events.”

Both Tanvi and her sister have trained at the Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad from 2016 to 2021. The high cost of training during the five-year stint along with COVID-19 forced them to return to Hoshiarpur. Her father is a government employee.

But nothing could come in the way of her ambition.

She won two U-15 All India Junior ranking titles and signed off with quarterfinal finishes in the India Junior Grand Prix and Kotak India Junior International in 2022.

Her elder sister has shifted to the National Centre of Excellence in Guwahati and Tanvi too plans to make a similar move in future.

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