Anaka Alankamony recommended for Arjuna award
CHENNAI: One of the brightest products of the Indian Squash Academy , Anaka Alankamony is the latest in the sport to be recommended for the Arjuna Award.
After Saurav Ghosal, Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa all of whom had their grounding at the ISA under the structured training of Maj S. Maniam, Technical Consultant and assisted by Cyrus Poncha, national coach and a host of other coaches, the ISA now has another success story to narrate with the distinction that Anaka has achieved.
Hugely talented, Anaka began her squash career in 2003 when she walked into the ISA. The rest, it can be said, is history. Even as she took her first few lessons and began to drive and drop the squash ball to the expectation of the Coaches, Anaka had begun to live a dream. As an U-13, she won the Asian U-15 title but what was even more creditable was she won a WISPA (now WSA) tournament to become the youngest player in the world to achieve this, breaking the record of none other than Malaysian Nicol David, the reigning world number one. Twice winner of Asian U-19 titles, Anaka did not take long to make her impression at the senior level in continental championship.
This Chennai girl, now a Computer science student studying in Philadelphia, was part of the Indian team which made history by finishing fifth in the world in the Team championship held in Nimes, France in 2012. A month before that when India won the gold in the Asian senior women’s team championship in Kuwait, Anaka was an important member of that team along with Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal. This year, India won the bronze in the same Asian championship held in Hong Kong and Anaka was part of it.
In 2010, Anaka was part of the bronze-medal winning Indian squad at the Guangzhou Asian Games. All this while she continued to make big contributions at the junior level with the Asian junior team title in Korea being her latest success story.
Just 20 and several years ahead in squash, Anaka is virtually biding time to make a bigger impact on the world scene. “I need to finish my graduation and then my focus will be totally on the professional tour,” said the ambitious girl, who continues to train at the Academy whenever she is in India. “Whatever I am is all because of the coaches at ISA and the big encouragement given by the SRFI,” she said as she looks forward to participating in the forthcoming Asian Games in Incheon, Korea.
Anaka is the fourth player in recent times to be considered for this coveted award, the earlier awardees being Saurav, Dipika and Joshna . Overall she happens to be the eleventh. The others are Maj Kulbir Singh, Raj Manchanda, Anil Nayar, M. Daruwala, Arjan Singh, Bhuvaneswari Kumari and Misha Grewal.