Published: 08th September 2021
Looking at the making of an Olympic aspirant in this 19-year-old Hyderabadi
Hyderabad has already given us badminton champs like PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal and there are several others in the making as we speak. We converse with one such dreamer and achiever
If you look at Srivedya Gurazada closely while she is in the midst of a heated badminton game that has managed to ruffle her feathers, a feat that is becoming increasingly rare as the 19-year-old gains more maturity, you will find that she often boosts her own morale by voicing out loud affirmations like, "Come on!" over and over again. As a player who is more sure-footed as an attacker, it's important that she keeps her spirits up. It wasn't just serendipity after all that won her a bronze medal at the Khelo India Youth Games 2020 Badminton (Under-21) Girls Doubles, the latest of her many glittery accomplishments. The trepidation in her every step is fading away slowly and is less and less prominent because in the journey she is on, her destination is an Olympic medal, nothing more and nothing less.
Previously, the teachers and the management of Silver Oaks International School, where she studied, were extremely helpful and understanding with regards to her goal
From being the jack of all trades and playing a bit of basketball here and skating there and then tennis as well, it was badminton that had her heart. "I started playing sports as a means to become fit, but the intensity of badminton really had me," says the 19-year-old. Spurred on by wins, first at the district and then state level, this Hyderabadi got on to the big leagues and started playing at the nationals in 2016. "Oh, my first national tournament was horrible," she laughs good-naturedly and adds, "The pressure hits the roof and goes through it too! But the thing about badminton, or any sport for that matter, is that the sooner you get past the pressure, the faster the results start to show." It was at the All India Junior U-19 Ranking Badminton tournament, held in Chandigarh, that this pressure started to ebb away and the medals started to make their way towards this athlete. "I was up against an extremely experienced player and winning that match meant a lot to me," says the first-year BBA student of Villa Marie College, Hyderabad.
On the court
We would be remiss if we didn't mention Srivedya's coach Chetan Anand, who runs his own eponymous academy. He is with the teenager every step of the way and sets reasonable targets with her before every tournament begins. Also, there is one important post-game ritual that she, her coach and her family follows — revisiting all her games via recorded videos. "It just offers me the scope of correcting my mistakes, reviewing my moves," says the youngster who was born in Boston and shifted to Hyderabad when she was four years old. This also helps keep those sleepless nights at bay, brought on by particularly soul-crushing losses. But they never get to her because if the goal is to go for gold, any loss is but a stepping stone.