Interview with Akanksha Salunkhe: "Good opportunity for me to learn from Joshna Chinappa & Dipika Pallikal"

 “I was unaware of this tournament. And it only came to my attention when I received the email. But I would have been expecting it as my performance has been really good even at the higher categories.”- Akanksha Salunkhe

The Indian team for the South Asian Games in Guwahati in February was picked last week and the Women’s Singles team saw the selection of one of the most impressive young players on the junior circuit, the Goa-based Akanksha Salunkhe.

Akanksha had an incredible 2015, where she won as many as 6 titles that including the Junior National Championships and in an exclusive interview to Sportskeeda via email, the player spoke about her selection into the Senior team, the role played by her parents in her success and much more.

Excerpts:

Q: What was your 1st reaction when you found out about your selection into your senior team?

A: I was obviously very happy about the fact of getting selected into the senior team. It was very special feeling since I would be in the team with the top players of our country Joshna and Dipika.

Q: You must have idolised the likes of Joshna Chinappa, Dipika Pallikal. But now you will be practising with them, interacting with them. How excited are you about the opportunity?

A: Yes, of course, there is a lot of excitement! They have been a constant source of motivation all through my squash years. So it's a really good opportunity to learn from them.

Q: You had a very good time in 2015, where you won 6 titles, including the Under-17 National title and the CCI Western Open title in the Under-19 category. Were you at any point expecting a call-up to the Senior team?

A: I was unaware of this tournament. And it only came to my attention when I received the email. But I would have been expecting it as my performance has been really good even at the higher categories.

Q: How much of a role have your parents played in encouraging you to pursue the sport seriously?

A: My parents have played a major role in encouraging me to take the sport seriously. Especially my mother. They have been very supportive in all aspects.They always make sure that I get the best facilities even after belonging to a place which is not very developed in the sport of squash. So I am really grateful to them.

Q: How helpful have the SRFI been in terms of providing sufficient exposure to young, upcoming players like you?

A: SRFI has also been very supportive.Though I don't belong to the academy they have always treated me as their own.The coaches have always motivated me in various tournaments.I am glad that they appreciate my efforts.

Q: How hard has it been for you to strike a balance between studies and playing squash?

A: It has never been easy to cope up with studies given the busy schedule of tournaments every year.Extra efforts were required.I would always carry books with me to all tournaments . Especially this year since its my 12th std and would be having the annual board exams in March.

Q: Finally, Have you been preparing any wishlist to ask the senior players when you meet them in February?

A: Not really! In fact, I have not prepared anything.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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