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Ravi Dixit has to believe in himself and the rest will fall in place

338   //    16 Jan 2016, 12:58 IST
Ravi Dixit

It is Ravi Dixit’s 24th birthday today and this must be one of his quietest affairs in recent times. Certainly, after the storm, this squash player created through his submissions in a social media site. It is one thing to state that he did not mean what he said but quite another when the statement purports to “selling his kidney to raise funds for his squash training and participation.”  

These are strange days when nothing is private not even social media where there are hawks ready to pounce on anything that is juicy. Ravi realized too late that in a flash squash playing fraternity all over the globe would come to know of it. Worse,  they wondered if things had reached this pass that a player had to trade his kidney to prop up his squash career!   It took Ravi a while to do the fire-fighting but in every sense it proved a sensational disclosure.

Frustration can be unnerving to any sportsperson. Ravi is no exception.  As a bright junior from Dhampur near Delhi, he had dreamt of the moon. The talent in him took him as high as world number two at one time.  The Asian junior title settled easily on his young head and all seemed well as he honed his skills under the watchful tutelage of Maj S. Maniam, the SRFI Consultant Coach and Cyrus Poncha, the national coach at the Indian squash Academy in Chennai.  Expectations ran high as days and months passed by. More so , when he graduated from the junior ranks to the seniors.

The fun-loving young man even sacrificed his regular studies, preferring postal tuition instead but squash remained close to his heart.  Dreams were high but like water in parched deserts, his achievements turned scarce so to say. The struggle in the senior ranks, he realized was more intense.  

His mentors at the ISA found him quite enthusiastic in the training sessions but when it came to actual match performance they found this Delhi-born player’s levels were constantly dipping.  In this highly competitive professional field that squash is, everything depended on what happens in tournaments and the performance-level there.

The bright young lad once, one dare say, had begun to look nothing beyond average in the men’s company.  In over  10 international events he had taken part in 2015, six of them in Malaysia, Ravi’s best has been quarterfinal finish.  His performance in the senior national was reaching the semi-final and ending up third.  

These did not seem commensurate with his known skills but the truth of his inability to rise cannot be denied. From a personal best of 116 in PSA ranking in 2013, he has dropped now to 211 way below another Dhampur boy Kush Kumar (90) who like the former had shifted to Chennai seeking greener pastures.

The worry in Ravi ‘s mind is clear.   He believes more exposure to overseas competition would help him improve but he fears his current status would not be viewed encouragingly.  A member of the Indian team for the South Asian Games, Ravi still has chances to stand out rather than be one in the crowd but the truth really is how prepared is he to meet the imposing challenges ahead.  

Rather than wear his heart on his sleeve, Ravi  must realize his first priority should remain that of working hard with a fixity of purpose. Age is still in his favour and he has talent. All he needs is a gentle push or a lucky break one would say, to set the ball rolling. For squash’s sake lets hope this young man returns with a bang. Nothing else can be a better wish on a birthday!

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Over three and half decades of experience in sports journalism. Been a squash writer for over a decade and covered virtually all major championships in the sport from World championship, Asian to national championship.
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