The 11-year-old paddler got off to the best possible start, winning both his matches in the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) U-12 inter-school table tennis competition at the University Pavilion, Marine Lines yesterday.
He first beat Yash Khandelwal of Aditya Birla World Academy, Tardeo 11-1, 11-7, 11-5 in Round Two, having got a first round bye. In the next encounter, he got the better of Ankush Maheshwari of Lilavatibai Podar, Santacruz 11-5, 11-5, 11-9. Aditya’s forehand smashes and deceptive serves stood out in both matches and were responsible for his easy wins.
Talking about how he started playing table tennis, the resident of the BDD chawl in Lower Parel, said, “Since both my parents (Santosh and Shakshi) work, I used to get bored alone at home after returning from school. That’s when I started going to the Kamgar Krida Bhavan, Elphinstone Road to see other people play table tennis. Since then I have been hooked to the sport,” said Aditya who is seeded fourth in the tournament.
Having finished runner-up in the MSSA U-12 competition last year, he is confident of winning the title this time around. “I couldn’t win the tournament last year as I wasn’t so serious about the sport. It was a casual thing for me. This time, I am confident that if I keep my calm I can win the trophy,” said the Class VI student.
Aditya’s father Santosh, who himself had to forgo his childhood dream of being a cricketer for the paucity of funds, said, “I am glad that Aditya utilises his time playing TT and is doing well in it. It is very tough for me to buy him the gear. Recently, my wife and I spent a part of our savings on a pair of rubber sheets worth Rs 8,500 for his racquet. But he has never let our sacrifices go in vain. I am working hard so that my son can become an India player some day and make us proud.”