Who is 14-year-old Anahat Singh, youngest Indian at Commonwealth Games 2022?
It was a dream come true moment for 14-year-old Anahat Singh when she got selected in India’s squash squad earlier this month for the upcoming 2022 Commonwealth Games (CWG 2022) in Birmingham.
The teenager from Delhi is the youngest member in the squash team, as well as in India's CWG-bound contingent for Birmingham. A rare honour for someone so young, hence, it was not a surprise when Anahat expressed her delight in representing India at Birmingham.
“Really excited because I have to play senior players who have had enough experience and journeys. So, really excited about that,” said Anahat when asked about her feelings ahead of CWG 2022.
Besides Anahat, eight others, including experienced campaigners Dipika Pallikal, Joshna Chinappa, and Saurav Ghosal are part of the Indian squash team for Birmingham. The teenage star was part of the national training camp in Chennai and was undergoing intense two-hour training sessions twice in a day, before the team left for Birmingham on Sunday.
Though Dipika, Joshna, and Saurav were present in the camp, Anahat spent her time practising with multiple national title winner Sunayana Kuruvilla. The two are teaming up and will represent India in the doubles category at the CWG. Anahat and Sunayana will also feature in the women’s singles section alongside Joshna Chinappa.
Regarding her preparations ahead of the CWG, Anahat mentioned that the training went well but she found the transition from singles to doubles a little hard initially.
“First, I did not exactly understand doubles but after coming and training, I’ve adapted to it,” said Anahat who has been a singles player throughout her young career. The top ranked player in Asia and India in the under-15 category, Anahat has not played doubles prior to this.
Anahat’s tryst with the sport happened after she followed in the footsteps of her elder sister Amira Singh, who is also a squash player. It was in 2019 that young Anahat hogged the limelight first after winning the prestigious British Open in the under-11 category. For the next two years, she continued to be No 1 in the under-11 category before moving to the under-15 section.
In December 2021 she won the under-15 US Open, followed by the Asian Junior title, German Open and Dutch Open (all three in under-15) respectively in 2022, thereby turning heads in India’s squash circles.
Anahat’s superb displays in recent times subsequently won her a ticket for the national camp in Chennai, where she impressed one and all to secure a spot in India’s squash team for Birmingham.
Having booked her berth in India’s team for CWG, Anahat, however, wants to live in the moment and not think too far ahead. “I am not so sure about a medal right now, but I am going to try my best,” Anahat said when enquired about her hopes of winning a medal in Birmingham.
Anahat, who won’t turn professional until she reaches 15 years of age, also spoke at length about her transition from a junior player to a senior and how she found the new experience exciting.
“It was like a very sudden transition. Last month, I was playing junior tournaments and then suddenly I am now part of the senior team. It’s very different but it is very exciting as well,” said Anahat, without hiding her happiness.