Anura Prabhudesai: Goa's best bet for medal at National Games
Anura Prabhudesai was nineteen when she got her number-one India ranking in badminton. Six years down the line, she is ranked sixteen and 101 in the world and is Goa’s best bet to win an individual medal during the 37th National Games, officially starting on October 26.
“As time has passed, I have begun to think in terms of one game at a time, where I give my best each time. I start thinking of winning every game but it does not happen always,” says the 25-year-old from Ponda who began her sojourn at fourteen.
Except for Sidhu, all the other ranked players above her will be part of the National Games competition and yet Anura does not appear unfazed. She practices with ferocity and relaxes to plan her next moves.
From amongst the athletes representing Goa - a few outsiders are expected to wear Goan colours - Anura is one that has been practising through three sessions a day regularly albeit during the period of the pandemic and that is the plus that will show.
“My confidence has grown since I have been playing many tournaments and the experience has helped. I travel alone with no coach behind me and I do my own planning before a game and this itself has boosted my confidence,” relates Anura as she dwells on the past and the way forward.
Anura, because of her height and her forward-thinking, has been an attacking player from the beginning. Her height helps her to decide when to opt for a smash, half smash and dribble and this has made her strategically more composed.
“Learning is a continuous process. Strength in my legs has improved and they keep developing. It takes time and I keep working on my stamina too,” admits Anura whose prose indicates mental growth.
From number one in India, Anura now aims to be amongst the best in the world. “I am working to be among the top thirty in the world. When I am playing, I am calmer now. I don’t rush to make points. I am learning to be patient when trying to kill the game,” reflects Anura.
Anura’s progress, like all other athletes, slowed down due to the pandemic but it did not distract her from her focus on entertaining on the world stage. “If I decide to do something, I give it my hundred per cent,” says Anura after a practice bout with the Goa probable to be selected.
“I realised during COVID that family matters and whenever possible I try to make time for my family. I take my training year by year. Within myself, I want to be the best and I work towards that goal. Will I end up being?” she asks herself while asserting her belief in her hard work.
As Goan athletes begin zeroing in on their preparations for the 37th National Games, after the money promised was sanctioned to various associations, Anura’s love to excel – with or without state funds - has surely singled her out as the best bet to be the probable player from Goa, to finish with an individual medal.