Ranked the number one player women tennis player in India, Ankita Raina is an Arjuna award winner in 2021 on her recognition for the achievements in tennis. She also holds a bronze medal in women’s singles 18th Asian games at Jakarta 2018. Excerpts from an interview.
Q. Ankita recently represented team India with BJK 2022, that is Billie Jean King Cup. Ankita congratulations on being ranked number one women tennis prayer in India. How did this achievement make you feel each time when you hear it?
A. It’s been a few years now and I really feel proud it’s been a dream to firstly play for India. While growing up it was one of my dream to be number one player in the country and it has all only been possible due to the support of my family and of course all my sponsors and team that have been with me in this journey.
Q. Does ranking affect your game at emotional or mental level?
A. As a player you always have goals. Every year or every few months that you want to be here in terms of ranking but over the years I’ve learned to deal with it or how to take it in a positive way. Because after all you have to be in the process and ranking and results is something out of your control all you can do is give your best in every practice session. And then definitely in the match it’s going to be how you have been practicing and worked hard over the years. Initially it would bother sometimes, but over the years I would say that I have learned how to manage it.
Q. How was the experience in Turkey, how was the weather?
A. Turkey was beautiful, it is the one of my favourite countries and I was happy to be back there. I was there last in 2019. And I love the culture there, love the food love the people and also the conditions.
Q. Do you miss Indian food when on tours?
A. I definitely miss Indian food. We just manage, sometimes if you’re lucky you get Indian restaurant around. And they’re such lovely people across the world. Indians, sometimes they get you some Indian food or they cook you home food, so I would say I’ve been lucky.
Q. Ankita you know though Sania didn’t play in BJK 2022 this time. What kind of relationship do you have with Sania Mirza?
A. Growing up I always looked up to her because she was the Indian player representing everyone. And she had such a great performance on the WTA tour at various games, the list keeps going on. So while growing up I always looked up to her because she was the number one player and then when I had the chance first time in 2010 to be a part of the team with her so it like a dream come true. Because you get a chance to play with one of your idols and also like at Olympics when I had the chance to represent India and play at the Olympics with her. So definitely her experience and all that she has done now for the country and so many women are inspired with her. I can keep talking about her and her achievements.
Q. Ankita what is something that you still hope to learn from her?
A. I would say fearlessness and humour.
Q. Is there any memorable incident when you guys went ROFL, at the fun created by her?
A. I mean it has been many times because when we are traveling for the Indian team or at the game so it’s always like we will be laughing, because when she’s around the atmosphere is very light and positive. So there have been many incidents I can’t remember one right now.
Q. Wearing these dangles you know and a half tied hair. I’ve never seen you this way, do you always wear these dangles while playing also?
Q. You just tie a tight pony on your head every time so you’re looking a little different.
A. Yes because, I mean everyone even you have mostly seen me on the tennis court or my pictures from the tennis court. So this is a different look I would say.
Q. So you are an Arjuna award winner. I have seen that pic wearing that red saree with red blazer, totally traditional Ankita so do you find comfortable wearing saree, did you wear it yourself that day?
A. My mom helped me out, but I love wearing sarees and I would really like to learn how to wear one probably in future.
Q. Other than saree what all traditional dresses you love wearing?
A. I think ghaghra. Since I’m born and brought up in Ahmedabad. So we used to have Navratri there and it’s celebrated in a large scale.
Q. Ankita do you follow any other sports personality you know that you think he or she inspires you enough. If yes then why?
A. I mostly follow only tennis and also like while growing up. Like I mentioned Sania and apart from her in tennis it’s Serena Williams another player who while growing up I used to really get excited watching her matches. If when she was playing Wimbledon against her sister and all the other matches.
Q. What motivates you the most what drives you to train or practice?
A. I think it’s just how better and how good I can be at this sport. When I look back when I started I had no clue that I would be a professional tennis player one day. Because it was it’s just that it happened my older brother used to play the sport, because my mom was a sports enthusiast and then I just followed his footsteps. So I just want to see how far I can get.
Q. Your comment on the kind of tournament like BJK 2022 which happened. So what do you feel about these kind of tournament are they putting their best foot forward to take tennis to the next level globally?
A. BJK is like world cup of tennis, you can say that in a way. We are playing the Asia Oceania group and there’s another group which is the European African group and then whoever qualifies goes to the world group playoffs. And then they go to the world group where they have the finals. So it is like world cup of tennis and it is on a huge scale because while we are playing in the Asian group so we are playing the best countries of Asia and then as we go ahead hopefully.
Q. What is your favourite memory of playing tennis you know any favourite moment as a professional tennis player?
A. It is definitely when I was playing Olympics last year. That would be one and the other one was when I was at the podium in Jakarta in Palembang at the Asian games getting the medals.
Q. What role does family play in the life of an athlete how important is family support all together?
A. Family support is the I think plays a very big part to me being here and being able to have this type of journey was only possible because I had the support from my family, from my mother, brother father all of them. As you know like education is one of the things and then financial background is another thing. I’ve played a lot during board exams. So I had this in that my last paper had a week gap and then there was an international event in Aurangabad, so I went there and played and then I came back and gave the last exam. So all this has been possible only because of my parents you know they were running around they are the pillars and backbone.
Q. How do you deal with the pressure at you know international forums when you go to play like you’re right now facing the same?
A. I feel that, pressure is something you always get because in tennis or even in life generally, different situations and it is new every single time it’s just that you learn from that and you move forward. So I think for me I feel being in process just doing my work and doing my routine has helped me to cope up with that.
Q. What is the most important piece of advice you would offer those who aspire to be like you, to be in your position?
A. I just want to say that follow your dreams. Like I said be fearless that’s one of the things I’ve learned from Sania. And be in the process you will have various challenges and there will be many people around sometimes, even from your family they will keep keep saying maybe you can’t do this but if your heart says, and if you’re ready to put in the work then just go for it.
Q. What is your favourite Indian cuisine?
A. That’s a tough question. I really like Gujarati thali and also you know me being Kashmiri, I really enjoy eating authentic Kashmiri food, home-cooked food.
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Indian boxer Nikhat Zareen gifts PM Modi boxing gloves
Indian Commonwealth Games contingent expressed their delight at being honored by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for their excellent performance at Birmingham 2022.
PM Modi felicitated the Indian contingent for the Commonwealth Games (CWG) 2022 in New Delhi on Saturday. The felicitation was attended by both athletes and their coaches. Union Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports Anurag Singh Thakur and Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Nisith Pramanik were among those present. Prime Minister congratulated the players and coaches for their stupendous performance at the Commonwealth Games 2022 held in Birmingham, where India bagged 22 Gold, 16 Silver, and 23 Bronze medals in various disciplines.
During the event, sprinter Hima Das gave the traditional Assamese gamocha, and Indian boxer Nikhat Zareen gifted PM Modi her boxing gloves.
“Honoured to gift the boxing gloves signed by all the pugilists to our honorable Prime Minister @narendramodi sir. Thank you for this amazing opportunity. A great day spent with my fellow athletes who have made the country proud,” Nikhat tweeted.
Hima Das took to her Twitter handle and wrote, “Elated to receive blessings from our honorable Prime Minister – Shri @narendramodi Ji, by virtue of Commonwealth Games 2022. Fortunate to have presented him with our traditional gamcha, wrapped with immense gratitude from all of Assam.”
Commonwealth Games 2022 champion weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, who won the gold medal in the Women’s 49kg final, thanked the PM for his words of motivation.
“Honoured to meet & interact with our Honourable Prime Minister @narendramodi Sir. Thank you so much sir for all your support & encouragement. Jai Hind,” Chanu said.
“Thank You Sir for sparing your valuable time and inviting us over to your residence. It was like always a delight to speak with you,” wrote shuttler Chirag Shetty.
CWG 2022 gold medallist Lakshya Sen also expressed his appreciation for being honored by the PM.
“What a great day for all the Athletes #gratitude. Thank you so much Sir for appreciating our hard work and for your words of encouragement. We are all very grateful for your support. Will continue to make our nation proud. Jai Hind!” Indian shuttler Sen tweeted.
“Meeting Hon. PM @narendramodi once again, interacting with him and seeking a blessing was motivating and inspiring as always. His keen interest in our performances and detailed conversations are very gratifying!” said Bhavina Patel, who won the gold medal in Para table tennis at the Birmingham 2022.
Addressing the Indian CWG contingent on Saturday, PM said that the golden period of Indian sports has just begun and hailed the fine show of the athletes.
India finished 4th in the medal tally winning a total of 61 medals at the CWG 2022, including 22 gold, 16 Silver, and 23 Bronze medals.
Four games win hearts, disappointment in weightlifting and squash
This time, a total of 16 medals, including seven gold were lost due to the non-availability of shooting events in the CWG. It was largely compensated by wrestling, badminton, table tennis, Para Powerlifting, lawn ball, cricket, hockey, athletics, and judo. India’s number of gold medals increased in the first four games compared to the last CWG held at Gold Coast. India won gold and a bar of silver in the lawn bowl in which not a single medal was won before. In hockey, both the teams returned empty-handed last time but this time the men’s team won a silver, and the women’s team won a medal after 16 years. In cricket, the Indian women’s team could not win gold after defeating Australia as they lost the last eight wickets for 34 runs but beating England in the SF was an achievement. Judo was not their last time, India won three medals including two gold in Judo. The personal best performance of many players in athletics proved that India’s preparations are on the right track because of the Paris Olympics.
Despite all this, weightlifters and squash players disappointed. The boxers equalled last time’s three gold medals but they got only one silver means two silvers less than last time. Mirabai Chanu, Jeremy Lalrinnunga, and Achinta Sheuli, did win gold medals in weightlifting, and they broke snatch games record but the rest of the weightlifters could neither break the national record nor give personal best. Most of these weightlifters could not even repeat their performance in the National Championship. Poonam Yadav, who won gold last time in 69 kg, failed in all three clean and jerk attempts, it is a matter of mystery. In TT, Achanta Sharath Kamal proved that age is just a number. The player was once weak in the backhand, but he made it his strength, winning a total of seven golds in 16 years. His biggest quality is to play his strategy according to the opposition player.
In athletics, however, the situation was quite the opposite. In a ten km walk, Priyanka Goswami and Sandeep won medals in their respective categories with PB performances. In the 3000m steeplechase, Avinash Sawale clocked a PB performance to outdo a Kenyan in medals and very near to the other Kenyan who won the gold medal by a fraction of a second. Gold medalist Eldhose Paul and silver-winner Abdulla Aboobacker won the triple jump gold and silver & broke the 17-meter barrier. For all the athletes including Murali Sreeshankar in the long jump, the World Championships held recently formed the base of their medals. Murli, who was performing lighter than the qualifying competition in the final, corrected his mistake and got the silver, but Seema Poonia and Navjeet Dhillon, who won silver and bronze at Gold Coast were almost four to five meters lesser this time. Both have shown that their preparations are going in the opposite direction. Two silvers in squash narrowed us down to two bronzesthis time.
In wrestling, only Canadian and Nigerian wrestlers were challenged as usual and Indian wrestlers managed to bag all the medals like the last time, which includes six golds i.e., one more gold than last time. Vinesh Phogat continued to create history in women’s wrestling by winning her third gold while emerging Naveen proved to be a new sensation in 74kg. Some players gave a befitting reply to their federations with their excellent performance. Judoka Tulika Maan was not considered for selection in the judo team. Even the federation said that there is no hope of a medal in the highest weight category of women, but Tulika won the silver.
Similarly, Tejaswin Shankar had to take refuge in the court to participate in these games. His name was rejected saying that he had not participated in the National Championship, arguing that he was participating in a competition in the US at the same time. Eventually, this player made 2.22 m in the high jump. He won the bronze medal. In lawn ball, women from other sports showed that if there is scope, there is nothing wrong with changing the game. When Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won the Olympic medal, he emphasized this the most because he too was once among the cricket potential players of Madhya Pradesh.
What Sports Are The Most Frequently Bet On?
Betting on sports is a vast industry making up over 30% of the entire gambling industry. If we take a look at what this might look like in numbers, around 500 billion dollars is used for gambling around the world each year. This means that approximately 150 billion dollars are spent on sports betting annually, which shows just how big a market it is.You are probably wondering what sports are most frequently bet on throughout the year. Here is a list of some of the most popular sports that people tend to bet on the most. We will take a look at whether it is because people just enjoy watching and betting on their favorite sport or whether a specific sport gives you an advantage while betting.
In the USA, American Football is without a doubt the number one sport that people both love to play and watch. The NFL has some of the most diehard fans of any sport, and people follow the game like a religion. With huge tournaments such as the super bowl, which attract attention from all around the world, it is no surprise that American Football is one of the most popular sports when it comes to betting.Another reason that people love to bet on American Football is the variety of leagues that are available to bet on. People can bet on college football all the way up to the NFL, which means there isn’t a shortage of teams to rally behind and place bets on. They can also choose to bet on live games or make predictions before they start. More options mean more opportunities to place all kinds of bets on different teams, which adds to the popularity of this sport in the gambling scene.
Soccer is the biggest sport in the world with the largest number of people playing it globally. It is then no surprise that it is also a huge sport when it comes to placing bets. With the advancement of technology, the types of bets that people can place on soccer matches have progressed over the years. The most noticeable type of bet that has caused sports betting within soccer to skyrocket is the ability to cash out early. This type of betting has made watching soccer a lot more exciting as people have to be paying extra attention to the screen to decide whether they want to get out of the bet or stay in for the maximum gain.In the UK alone, it is estimated that a mind-blowing 1 billion pounds are spent on soccer bets each year. Soccer as a sport has also only gone up in popularity over the last few years with the American soccer league, MLS, gaining a lot of attention. Although it is a long way from being as popular as American football, soccer in the US appears to be gaining a lot more traction and fans from around the world. For this reason, it is easy to see that soccer is going nowhere anytime soon, and the interest in betting on the sport will likely only increase.
For those that are unaware, horse racing was the number one sport for betting for the longest time. This may not still be the case however, horse racing still plays a massive part in the sports gambling world, with an estimated 100 billion dollars being spent betting on the sport each year. In addition to this, horse racing is the only sport where you can actually bet on it at all times of the day.Horse racing is a huge day out for many people who save part of their earnings to spend betting on horses in the hopes of winning big. This may come as a big surprise, but Japan actually has the biggest horse racing market, with the United Kingdom following behind and then Australia behind them.
The number three spot when it comes to sports most frequently bet on is tennis. You might not have expected this but there are some reasons why this is the case. The first being that placing bets on tennis is considered relatively safe due to the odds being fairly low. For example, if one of the top players, such as Rafael Nadal, is scheduled to play against a player who is not considered very strong, it is a relatively safe bet to place on Nadal winning.
HUMPY, SACHDEV, KULKARNI GIVE INDIA LEAD IN WOMEN’S SECTION AT 44TH CHESS OLYMPIAD
Koneru Humpy, Tania Sachdev and Bhakti Kulkarni scored victories as India A pulled off a 3.5-0.5 win against Kazakhstan to emerge as sole leader in the women’s section after ninth round of 44th Chess Olympiad in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu on Monday.
Top-seed India A were given a winning start in the penultimate round by Humpy when she outperformed Zhansaya Abdumalik. R Vaishali, on the other hand, had to share points against Bibisara Assaubayeva before Sachdev and Kulkarni tilted the result of the match in India’s favour after securing wins over Xeniya Balabayeva and Guliskhan Nakhbayeva in their respective games.
With just one more round remaining, India A have grabbed the leading spot with 17 points while Poland, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine are jointly holding the second position with 16 points each.
India B and India C also notched up identical 3-1 wins in their respective Round 9 matches. While India B defeated the Netherlands with Padmini Rout, Mary Ann Gomes and Divya Deshmukh scoring victories, India C thrashed Sweden. PV Nandhidhaa and Pratyusha Bodda scored victories for India C whereas Eesha Karavade and M Varshini Sahiti settled for draws.
THE GREAT INDIA RUN ENTERS PUNJAB, RUNNERS REACH DINANAGAR
The Kashmir leg of the Great India Run culminated today with 11 runners entering Punjab on Tuesday evening. The runners have started their run from Mansar Lake and reached Dinanagar covering a distance of 89kms. The runners reached Dinanagar via Samba, Keediyan Gandiyal Bridge and Aman Bhalla College.
After a night halt, they will start their journey tomorrow to DAV College, Hoshiarpur via Mukerian. The Kashmir leg saw the runners complete a total distance of 255kms running through iconic locations including Bahihal, Patnitop and Mansar Lake.
The relay-run will cover 829 kilometers across 4 states from Srinagar to New Delhi from August 5 to August 15. The run is being organize to celebrate the 75th Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign. An initiative of iTV & iTV Foundation, the run builds on the success of the first chapter of the Great India Run held in 2016.
The Flag-off in Srinagar was done by Shri Manoj Sinha, L-G J&K and Shri Kartik Sharma, Rajya Sabha MP from Lal Chowk, Srinagar. In support of the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign, the L-G handed the lead runner a national flag after unfurling it at the venue. The first leg of the run is being led by Arun Bhardwaj, an Ultra-marathon runner.
The run venue was decorated with 75 Indian tricolours to mark 75 years of Independence. The route covers Banihal, Patnitop, Mansar Lake, Dinanagar, Hoshiarpur, Rupnagar, Ambala Cantt. finally culminating in Delhi on August 15. Full details of the route are available at the twitter handle @TGIR2022. Daily coverage of the run will also be visible on national TV and the national press. The culmination ceremony will be held in New Delhi on August 15th with Union Minister Jitendra Singh as Chief Guest.
India announce squad for Asia Cup 2022; Bumrah ruled out
The All-India Senior Selection Committee on Monday announced the 14-members squad for the upcoming Asia Cup. The much-anticipated Asia Cup cricket tournament will take place from August 27 this year. The 15th edition of the tournament will be played in the UAE between six teams (main event). Defending champions India are also the most successful team, having won the trophy seven times. While the last edition of the tournament was held in an ODI format, this edition will feature the T20 format.
The six teams are divided into two groups with India, Pakistan and a qualifying team in Group A; and Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan forming Group B. Each team plays the other once in the group stage with the top two teams from each group advancing to the Super 4 round. The top 2 teams from Super 4 will qualify for the final.
India’s squad for Asia Cup: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan.
The star pacer of India Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel were not available for selection owing to injuries. They are currently undergoing rehab at the NCA in Bengaluru.
Three players – Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel and Deepak Chahar have been named as standbys.
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