“They call soccer the beautiful game, but if I had to identify just one sport to show members of some alien species what the human race is all about, I’d nominate squash.”
Akanksha Salunkhe, born 24th January 1999, is the current No.1 in the under 19 category and No.3 in the Women India category of Squash Players. She has done her schooling from NCS Goa and is currently studying in Trinity College, Hartford, USA. Let’s know more about her in the interview down below.
In conversation with Akanksha Salunkhe :
Q1. How did you develop your interest in squash?
My mom, when I was young, she used to put me in a lot of classes like drawing class, dance class, etc but none of them managed to get my interest. So one day out of the blue, she thought of putting me into a Squash class where I met my coach Mr. Rehman Hubli. And slowly I started liking it because the whole process was really fun. I had my friends around and also my coach made sure we had fun but at the same time learn the sport. So yes, that’s how I slowly and gradually developed an interest for it.
Q2. Would you like to describe your journey to me?
Like I said at first it was just all fun and games. But I gradually began to get good at Squash and my coach noticed that so he met with my parents and talked to them about how I have got a talent and if they are serious he can take my training to the next level. And, my parents agreed to it. So, from then on I started training really hard and soon went out for tournaments and that is basically what my life has been for the past 8 years, training and tournaments. Overall the journey has been great and I have enjoyed every second of it.
Q3. How hard is your training?
An ideal day for me starts with hitting the gym early morning for about an hour and a half which includes strength training and cardio and then I practice squash for about two and a half hours in the evening followed my another hour in the gym focusing on abs and core workouts.
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Q4. What is your dream?
My dream is to be The Worlds’ best Squash Player.
Q5. What have been the best moments of your journey?
Wining tournaments and titles are the best moments for me. They help increase my confidence and boost my morale. Also, the joy of playing for my country with my team mates in un-explainable.
Q6. Could you describe your first match for us?
I WAS VERY VERY VERY NERVOUS!!!! I mean I went on court and my whole body froze and I did not know what was going on. My hands were shaking and I couldn’t hold my racket properly, let alone hit a shot. But I had my coach and my mom to calm me down. I won the match 3-0 which helped me build my confidence for the next round.
Q7. Which has been your best match?
My best match, there is no one match that I can refer to as the best. I’ve had many great matches and I’ve learnt and grown from them. It’ll be really hard to describe all of them.
Q8. How has this sport helped you grow as a person?
The sport helped me to a really disciplined life. Squash has taught me how to deal under pressure and keep my composure at all times.
Q9. Would you like to give a message for the readers?
I guess the most of the audience will be students and I’d like to say that don’t just study! If you’re good in sports please do not forgo that to just focus on academics, it is a huge loss. People in India have the wrong assumption that you will have a secured future only if you follow the path of academics. Yes it is important but sports also needs to be given the same level of importance. Explore yourself before settling, you are much more than you think.