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Updated: May 29, 2013 18:47 IST

Dunkin em’ in

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Aastha Varthak
Aastha Varthak

Ten-year-old Aastha Varthak says constant practice was the key to her foray in the nationals

Like many youngsters, Aastha Vartak’s introduction to basketball came at school. At the age of 10, she began playing basketball as an after school activity at the Mallya Aditi International School, and soon picked up the pace. Aastha went on to represent Karnataka in the 39th Sub-Junior Nationals at Goa, and is also a regular for Mounts Club, a top side in the state. “Along with some school friends, I joined Mounts Club to get extra coaching. I have been playing for the club in the State Championships for the last three years,” she says.

Competing in the Nationals pushed her game to next level, and her coaches have played a role in her rise too. Jayavanthi Shyam, the coach at Mounts Club, can be credited for Aastha’s fine shooting and overall offensive abilities. Aastha also learnt lessons about teamwork.

“Jayavanthi ma’am taught me how to play on a team - how to support my team, on as well as off-the-court. The most important thing I have learned is to win by playing as one unit; synchronizing and helping one another on court,” she says.

The 13-year-old is also appreciative of her coach from the school team, Samyuktha Murlidhar, who taught her to balance basketball with studies, while encouraging her to excel in both. Balancing school and competitive sport is a tough ask, especially in a scenario where academics takes precedence.

“Basketball is her life now, but I am happy that she does well in academics too. The sport is her priority now, but it will not come at the cost of her doing well at school,” says Binita Vartak, Aastha’s mother.

Binita mentions an upcoming national event where her daughter will have to miss school for two weeks, and adds that it a tough task to get the right mix.

With sound advice from both her family and coaches, however, Aastha is in a good position to make the right decisions.

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