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Twice as nice for city shuttler Divecha!

Updated on: 29 March,2024 12:35 PM IST  |  Mumbai

Maharashtra’s Naheed considers winning gold in women’s 50 singles and mixed doubles at Indian Masters National Badminton Championship at Panchkula ‘special’

Twice as nice for city shuttler Divecha!

Maharashtra shuttler Naheed Divecha with the gold medals she won at the 46th Indian Masters National Badminton Championship at Panchkula recently. PIC/Divecha’s personal collection

City shuttler Naheed Divecha has bagged multiple titles to date, but she considers winning two golds at the Yonex Sunrise 46th Indian Masters National Badminton Championship at Panchkula, Haryana, exceptional as it was her first singles title and also her first mixed doubles honours with new partner Kiran Mokade.

In the women’s 50 singles final, Divecha, who plays at the Bombay Gymkhana, defeated Sunita Singh Panwar of Haryana 21-14, 21-11. Later, Divecha and Mokade, also from Maharashtra, bagged the mixed doubles 50 title with 21-15, 21-9 win over top-seeded Karnataka pair of Prabagaran Subbaiyan and Jayashree Raghu. Talking about her recent feat at Panchkula, Divecha, 52, told “I have won many titles before. At the 2019 nationals, I won two golds [both in doubles] and a silver [in singles]. That’s the closest I came to a triple, while in 2023 I won one gold and two bronze. I have won three medals at state events thrice, but this was a very special victory this year. I have been playing the Masters Nationals since 2013, but this time was my first-ever singles title. And a singles title always holds more weightage than doubles. I have always reached the semis or the finals in singles without winning gold, but this time I was able to go the distance. The mixed doubles title was exceptional considering Kiran [from Nagpur] and I won gold in our maiden year of the partnership.”

Meanwhile, Divecha wears multiple hats besides being an active athlete— that of a mother to Sireena (26), Keahn (24) and Leah (20), wife, daughter, organiser and helping her father (earlier) and hubby now, handle their companies. Besides that, she is also the first lady vice-president of the Bombay Gymkhana. She credits discipline for being able to strike a balance between the multiple roles. “I have been into sports since I was a child and learnt swimming at Bombay Gymkhana. I also learnt ballet as a kid, my first lessons in discipline came from there. In college, I was inclined to play tennis. In my 30’s, I learnt karate along with Rushad [my husband] and son. Of late, I have participated in four racketlon tournaments, which I have played and also organised along with Racketlon India Sports Association [RISA]. In addition to that, the role of being the vice-president of Bombay Gymkhana keeps me occupied with the activities of the club. I am a company secretary and have worked for my father’s company [Ecoplast Ltd] for 15 years and now for the past 10 years with Rushad’s firm [Eros Elevators and Escalators Pvt Ltd]. If not for my disciplined lifestyle, I would never have been able to manage so many things,” remarked Divecha, who trains under Mangirish Palekar, Shuttle Craze Badminton Academy’s coach and director.

When asked what her advice would be for women who juggle different roles, Divecha, whose all-time favourite athlete is Swiss tennis ace Roger Federer and her most-liked shuttlers are Pullela Gopichand and Aparna Popat, replied, “The one thing women need to learn is to take out time every day. Also being active is important as exercise energises you and is a stimulant to face the day with positivity and vigour. In order to achieve more in life, one should not compare but aim to improve oneself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The most important thing is bettering yourself one step at a time,” she signed off. 

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