Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Family of Saina Nehwal, and other players

About Saina Nehwal's family:

Saina Nehwal belongs to a middle-class family from Hisar in Haryana. Both her father Dr. Harvir Singh and her mother Usha Nehwal were former badminton champions of the state of Haryana.

Having had such a family background, it was natural that Saina Nehwal was introduced to badminton at a very early age. Her father took Saina one day to meet badminton coach Nani Prasad who saw potential in Saina to become a great player, and asked her to enroll as a summer badminton trainee. Saina was 8 years of age at that time.

Then started a daily routine in which Saina's father Harvir Singh would take Saina with him at 4 am every morning to the stadium which was 25 km away. While Saina sat behind her father on the scooter she would often fall asleep while travelling, and hence her mother Usha Nehwal also started accompanying them to the stadium for the next three months. After practicing for 2 hours at the stadium, her father would then drop Saina at school on his way to work.

To meet Saina's badminton training and equipment costs, Saina's father had to withdraw money from his savings and even his PF (Provident Fund) account. It goes without saying that without the family support Saina Nehwal could not possibly have achieved so much in the world of badminton.

PV Sindhu and her family:
The family of India's rising badminton talent Pusarla Venkat Sindhu (P.V. Sindhu) was also into sports. She is the daughter of former international volleyball players P. V. Ramana and her mother P. Vijaya. Her father P.V. Ramana has won the Arjuna award for excellence in sports for his achievements in volleyball.

Sindhu however has chosen badminton as her field for excellence.She was inspired by the exploits of badminton star P.Gopichand who is also from Hyderabad, and turned to badminton at the age of 8.

This 15-year girl currently trains at the Gopichand academy in Hyderbad and has already started making her mark on the world of badminton, and many already think that she will emulate the success of Saina Nehwal and achieve all that Saina has and more in the world of badminton.

Arundhati Pantawane and her family:
Arundhati Pantawane who is currently making rapid progress in badminton also comes from a family which is into sports. Her parents are athletics coaches, and her sister in into cricket. Arundhati also started with athletics but eventually turned to badminton.
Arundhati also trains at the Gopichand academy where Saina Nehwal and P.V. Sindhu also train.

Anand Pawar and his family:
Indian badminton player Anand Pawar also comes from a sporting background. His parents Uday and Sujata Pawar are former international badminton players and now reputed coaches. So naturally Anand took to badminton at a very early age.

P. Gopichand and his family:
Pullela Gopichand is the son of Pullela Shubhash Chandra and Subbaravamma. Initially Gopichand was more interested in playing cricket, but later decided to take up badminton instead, after his elder brother Rajashekar initiated him to the game.

His brother also was a good badminton player, and when Gopichand first reached the finals of the Andhra Pradesh State Junior Badminton Championship, he was defeated by his brother Rahasekhar who had won the title.
Gopichand later went on to marry fellow Olympian badminton player P.V.V Lakshmi, and his wife Lakshmi also hails from Andhra Pradesh, which is the home state of Gopichand.

The making of sportspersons: Family backgrounds do play an important part:

So this is generally how a sportsperson is made. Like a musicians's son or daughter turns to music and learn music of their 'gharana' (family), or a businessman's son turns to family business, a sportsperson son or daughter seems to have a higher likelyhood of turning to sports, being initiated to it at a very early age.

Think of tennis star Leander Paes' family. He is son of Dr. Vece Paes, a former hockey Olympian who won the bronze medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics, and his mother Jennifer Paes captained the Indian basketball team at the Asian badminton championships.

Need more examples? Indian tennis player Prakash Amritraj is the son of former tennis legend Vijay Amritraj. Vijay's brothers Anand Amritraj and Ashok Amritraj also played for India at the international tennis circuit. Sports runs in the family.

India's star tennis player Ramesh Krishan was the son of another lengendary tennis player Ramanathan Krishan who in turned honed his tennis skills under the guidance of his father T.K. Ramanathan.

Thinking of Cricket there have been several father-son duo combinations. Vinoo Mankad and Ashok Mankad, Lala Amarnath and Mohinder Amarnath, Sunil Gavaskar and Rohan Gavaskar, Vijay Manjrekar and Sanjay Manjrekar.

The examples are many of how sports usually runs in the family. This is not to say that children who come from non-sporting backgrounds cannot make it big in sports. They certainly can. And several of them have achieved unprecedented success.

Aditi Mutatkar and her family
Current National badminton champion Aditi Mutatkar does not really come from too much of a sporting background. However her family has always supported her through the thick and thin of her badminton career, and she also got the chance to learn from good coaches at an early age which helped a lot.

So while it is true that the children of sportspersons do seem to have a higher likelyhood of making it big in a sport, by virtue of being initiated into the games at an early age, and also by virtue of having a chance to learn the required skills and the required winning attitude at home simply by observation, it is definitely not a prerequisite.

Sporting success as in any other pursuit is a combination of that never-say die attitude, the total belief, the dedication, and the persistance.


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