Shuttler Akendra Darjee hopes to end the year by winning the PSA-NIA Maharashtra State Open badminton title and till yesterday he was right on track. Darjee comfortably advanced to the U-15 boys' quarterfinals with a 30-27 win over Nirav Sthalekat at North India Association courts.

Akendra Darjee

Coming from a humble background, the 14-year-old top seed wants to win the title so that he can buy a new racquet with the prize money. His sporting expenditure though are looked after by the state government under their Kreeda Prabodhan scheme for underprivileged kids.  

"I want to win this title badly, as I can buy myself a good Yonex racquet with the prize money. I have earned some money by doing duty of a linesman at the recently concluded Tata Open, but I need some more and this win could give me that," Akendra told MiD DAY.

His stint as a linesman at the Tata Open helped him learn on-court tactics used by international players. "Being a linesman in that meet was actually like learning the nuances of the game live. I learnt how they deal with pressure during tight situations," he added.