It’s not everyday you see a youngster boast a collection of more than 200 trophies and medals, especially at the age of 14 but that’s certainly the case for rising badminton sensation Tanisha Crasto.
The Indian High School student had to make room for her ever-growing cabinet at the weekend
after scooping three titles at the 40th India Club UAE Open tournament in Dubai.
She bagged the Mixed Doubles and Under-15 crowns before putting herself into the competition’s record books by becoming the youngest player to win the women’s singles division with a straight games win over Iran’s Negin Amiripour.
Not bad for someone who only took up the sport aged five and almost quit badminton altogether if it wasn’t for her coaches and parents (Clifford and Tulip).
“My father played badminton and after watching him, that was when I was inspired,” said Crasto, who hails from Goa, India and was a triple junior champion at last year’s GCC Bahrain Open.
“I enjoyed playing the sport but when I was around 10 years old, there were times when I wanted to give up because I was really tired and wouldn’t know how to manage my studies.
“I wanted to stop playing badminton but my coaches and parents, who have always supported me, said not to give up anything in life and just move on.”
Her success is partly down to her training, where she can spend up to seven hours every day on the India Club courts.
Now with the dust settling on her new pieces of silverware, she wants to go even further and emulate her idols former world No1 Saina Nehwal and Rio silver medalist and ex- world No2, PV Sindhu.
“I know Saina personally having met her at the BWF World Superseries in Dubai last December. We visited the Bollywood Parks in Dubai and it was great motivation for me to hear inspiring words and tips from her,” she said.
“With her silver medal at the Olympic Games, Sindhu has proven that not only boys can achieve medals for India but also girls can as well and that really inspires me.
“There’s still plenty of years for me to develop and I want to become better than them. That’s my aim because they’ve set the bar and it’s up to me and the rest of the world to exceed that.
“My aim is to become the World No1 and become an Olympic gold medalist and hopefully I can do that between the ages of 21 to 25 because right now, I’m focused on making a career in badminton.”
In order to do that, she now plans to compete internationally this year with trips to Belgium and India scheduled in her diary.
“It’s going to be a big step for me but by playing against international players, you can improve yourself against people who have different techniques of playing.”
The Millennium School (TMS) ended their season in style with a clean sweep of all three titles in the Berry Hills Indian Basketball League.
The Dubai-based institution stood at the top of the podium in all categories, winning both the Under-13 boys and girls titles before claiming the hat-trick with the Under-19 crown.
In the girls’ U-13 match, TMS were pushed all the way but came out on top to beat Delhi Private School (DPS), Sharjah 34-19.
Having watched the victory from the sidelines, the TMS boys’ side ensured they completed a double in the same group by overcoming New Indian Model School, Sharjah 35-19.
While those matches were closely fought, the U-19 championship decider was no different against DPS Dubai.
In a match that could have gone either way, it was TMS who were celebrating at the final whistle, winning 43-42, despite DPS’ brave efforts.
For the first three-quarters, DPS were leading 8-6, 12-5 and 6-4 but TMS battled back. Anand Ajith Vinod, who eventually scored 20 points, helped level the game at 37-all before TMS held on to win by a single point. Aaron Dino was the top-scorer for DPS Dubai with 24 points.
That last feat could not have been a more fitting end to the competition for TMS, having won nine of their 10 matches in all categories. Coach Sanu Thomas had nothing but praise for his players. “It was a great achievement by each and every player in the squad. To win three basketball titles in an inter-school competition is fantastic and they put in a lot of hard work over the last two months,” he said. “It was something that we were working towards and our hard work has now paid off.”
Executive principal Michael Guzder lauded the players and Thomas for their outstanding success.
“With these wins, TMS students have not only shown individual talent but demonstrated that teamwork can win championships,” he said.
“We are proud of our basketball teams and the coach, Sanu Thomas, who has trained these pupils to bring home these titles.”
Javier Aguirre has declared he will always be a fan of Al Wahda and is confident the club will continue to thrive when he finally leaves this week.
The Mexican was given a final farewell by the management on Sunday after two years in charge of the Abu Dhabi side.
During his stint, the 58-year-old won the Arabian Gulf Cup in his maiden season before guiding the side to their second President’s Cup and first in 17 years after a 3-0 victory over Al Nasr on Friday.
But that wasn’t enough for the former Atletico Madrid and Japan boss to earn an extension to his deal, which expires this month yet Aguirre, who shook hands with every journalist prior to the press conference, insists the foundations are laid to build on this success.
“I’m really proud of the players at the team,” he said, where he received a memento from the club for his services. “Fourteen of the 25 players have come from our second team and that means the big work is beginning to pay off at our academy.
“There is a very young first-team today and there is good base for them in the next four to five years for sure. They will be playing in the Arabian Super Cup and AFC Champions League which is a good challenge for them. I’ll be a fan of Wahda and wish the club all the best.”
— Denzil M Pinto (@denz_360) May 21, 2017
In his two seasons in charge, the club failed to mount a serious title assault in the Arabian Gulf League after finishing a distant third and fifth behind champions Al Ahli and Al Al Jazira.
He admits he did some mistakes during his helm but was unsure how he would like to be remembered at Al Nahyan Stadium.
“I have done my job as hard as I could. I know I made a lot of mistakes and that many fans did not like me. But I’m proud to have been here and I’ll take these good memories with me. These two or three days will be unforgettable for me.”
Aguirre will now assess his options on where his next managerial job will be but for now, taking rest and enjoying time with his family remains his priority.
“I already have offers but from tomorrow I will rest first. I need to take my time, I worked 12 years in La Liga and in four World Cups either as a head coach or an assistant. There is a lot of pressure being a coach but I need to stay calm for a couple of months and then I will see.
“I feel I can give more and more of my experience, expertise but now I have nothing. The only idea I have is to take rest.”
— THE CHAMPIONS! 🏆 (@AlWahdaFCC) May 21, 2017
For club president Ahmad Al Rumaithi, he paid tribute to Aguirre for his services. “It’s a management decision to part ways with the manager. Fans will support the manager whenever he wins but will rise against him when he doesn’t deliver. We all know that. It’s not an easy decision to take when you win a major title but it’s not one person’s decision.
“We have high regard for Aguirre and we appreciate the work he had done with us for two years. It is unfortunate we have to go different ways but it’s all done in the best interest of the club.
Aguirre is almost certain to be replaced by ex-Al Hilal supremo Laurentiu Reghecampf although Al Rumaithi insists talks over the new manager is still on-going.