The year 2022 seems to have an auspicious beginning for Indian badminton. PV Sindhu’s drought of badminton titles ended after 28 months but in the context of the future of Indian badminton, there was something more worthwhile that came to the fore. Sixteen-year-old Tasnim Mir from Gujarat came at the top of the 2021 Under-19 Badminton World Federation rankings; a distinction till date never achieved by any Indian woman shuttler.
Since the BWF rankings started in 2011, three Indian boys, Lakshya Sen, Siril Verma and Aditya Joshi, have had the distinction of being ranked No. 1 in the Under-19 group. However, in the girls’ section the best ranking ever achieved earlier was No. 2 by PV Sindhu and Samiya Imad Farooqui. The age of Sania Mirza did not enjoy such a ranking in the U-19 category.
Tasnim had a huge advantage in her early life as her father, Irfan Mir, is a badminton coach for the Gujarat police. Having had that early advantage since the age of twelve, she has been training under Indonesian coach, Edwin Iriawan, at the Assam Badminton Academy in Guwahati. Winning titles at Bulgaria, France and then at Belgium, ensured that Tasnim Mir ends as the best Under-19 woman player of 2021.
Gp Capt Achchyut Kumar has been associated with The Teenager Today for more than 50 years; initially as a reader and later as a contributor on varied topics. Having worked in the Indian Air Force and in India’s oldest company, Forbes & Company Limited, he is now practising as a lawyer in Nainital High Court.