Back after training with former world record holder and 1976 Olympic gold medallist Mac Wilkis, and Tony Ciarelli in the United States, Mumbai's discus thrower Anushi Desai hopes to win at least a bronze at the June 12-15 Asian Junior Athletics Championships in Taiwan.
Anushi Desai practicing at the Jamnabai Narsee ground in Juhu. Pic/Nimesh Dave
The India No 2 qualified for the event after winning silver at the 12th Junior Federation Championships in Chennai last month.
Talking about her forthcoming maiden international appearance, the 17-year-old said, "The Chennai meet was special for me. For years I would make it to the Nationals, but was unable to qualify for an international event. I hope to win at least a bronze there, as the girl who came third last time hurled the disc 41m, whereas I managed 44m in Chennai," said the Juhu resident.
Talking about how her training with Wilkis and Ciarelli helped her improve her technique she said, "Earlier I was good, but I lacked finishing. I went for a month-long training to USA before the Chennai Nationals, and I am just back after a short stint with them before leaving for Taiwan.
"They have got me to do the right things like maintaining a proper diet, following a regular schedule for practice, apart from working on my finish. I used to hurl the disc around 43-43.8m. But now my personal best in practice is around 45m, which is a great improvement."
Previously a vegetarian, Anushi turned non-vegetarian six months ago. "I am a Gujarati and eating non-vegetarian fare at home is a big no-no. But, both my father (Sanju) and mother (Malini) didn't have any issues with me turning non-vegetarian. As my body needs proteins, I consume grilled fish and chicken."
Talking about the influence of her idol — Olympian discus thrower Seema Antil, she said, "I owe a lot to my school coach Cyril D'Souza who spotted me and my idol Seema Antil who helped me graduate from being a state level thrower to getting to where I am. I train with her husband Ankush Punia when I have time."