Harsheel Dani of Chatrabhuj Narsee Memorial School comfortably moved into the fourth round of the MSSA inter-school U-16 badminton tournament at the North Indian Association courts yesterday. He defeated Sanjay Lauhgani of Arya Vidya Mandir (Bandra) 21-4.
Named in the national squad for the ANA Badminton Asia Youth U-17 & U-15 Championships in Chiba (Japan) to be held from October 5 to October 9, Harsheel is over the moon but for now he is looking forward to win the MSSA title. "I want to make sure that I win the title for my school as they have supported me all through," Harsheel told MiD DAY.
Rising Star: Harsheel Dani at the North Indian Association.
The city shuttler though doesn't have too much expectation from the international assignment. "Since this is the first time I am taking part in any international event, I am not expecting anything from it. I want to take one step at a time," he said. Currently ranked second in the country in his age-group, Harsheel will be accompanied by city shuttlers Karishma Wadkar, Lalita Katre, Shlok Ramchandran and Sanjana Santosh in the youth championship in Japan.
The 15-year-old, who is already six feet and taller than most children his age, now wants to focus on improving his speed and stamina.
Having taken to the courts at six, Harsheel has never looked back since. A steady performance through out has also been instrumental in earning him a one-year contract with Air India.
The teenager, who was sent to Jakarta by Maharashtra Badminton Association for a 17-day camp last year, felt that experience of training alongside Indonesian shuttlers has changed his approach towards the game.
"After the MSSA meet, I will leave for Lucknow, where I will attend a preparatory camp from 17 September. We will leave for Japan from there itself," said Harsheel.
Results: B-16: 3-Kuvale Vipul Vilas (IES V N Sule Guruji) bt Jayvardhan Rathi 21-9; 4-Pratik Chotani bt Padnis Shreyas Mukund 21-11; 2-Dharmamar Kaushal (Lilavati Podar) bt Chawla Siddhant (St Gregorius) 21-2;B-12: 1-Akshan Shetty (Thakur Vidya Mandir) bt Meet Jain (DYPA School) 21-1; 4-Yug Nair (Bombay Scottish) bt Pratham Nayak (Don Bosco High School) 21-10; 2-Salunke Rahul (New English School) bt Joshua D'Sa (Tridha Radolf) 21-4; 3-Parthiv Chabriya (Smt R S B Arya Vidya Mandir) bt Gaurav Jain 21-10