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HITTING HARD Zainab Ali Sajjad is the one to look out for
HITTING HARD Zainab Ali Sajjad is the one to look out for

The AITA series put the spotlight on potential champions

After the success of Sania Mirza, tennis seems to have got a boost. Not only are young players, who seem to have the required talent, are emerging but there are also many parents encouraging their children to take to the sport seriously from a fairly early age.In the AITA Talent series tournament conducted by the Punna Tennis Academy recently at the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh's tennis complex in the Lal Bahadur stadium, young players came up with some good performances. With some good coaching and encouragement from their parents and educational institutions, there is a likelihood that some of these promising young players such as Ronak Jhawar, Zainab Ali Sajjad, S.M. Abdulla and Mrinalini may go far in their career.They displayed their fighting spirit and zeal to overcome the hurdles and were not found wanting in any department of the game — be it fitness, strokeplay or tactics. In the under-14 final for boys, Ronak Jhawar defeated Rishab Agarwal 7-5, 6-4 in a well-fought contest. Although he lost in the final, Rishab played well and put up a stiff fight.In the under-14 final for girls, Zainab Ali Sajjad got going with her trademark back hand down the line shots and was in full cry. She defeated Mrinalini 6-4, 6-1. Zainab has got a lot of encouragement from her father Ali Sajjad who is a former state champion and clearly the efforts are paying off. With the required hard work and dedication this girl could go far.Mrinalini, however, won the title in the under-12 section where she defeated G. Urmila 5-3, 4-1. The boys under-12 title was won by S.M. Abdulla who beat Ronak Jhawar 6-2, 6-0. However, many experts have often voiced the opinion that while training children, the coaches and also parents have to take care not to push them too hard for it may cause a burnout, which has earlier hampered the careers of many budding young players. It helps if parents too have come from a sporting background since they are likely to be aware of the pulls and pressures of competitive sports. Young players have their limits when it comes to rigorous training. Nowadays, with plenty of information on fitness and sports medicine available on the internet, it may not be difficult even for parents without a sport background to understand the requirements of sport and allow their children's talent to develop naturally.ABHIJIT SEN GUPTA

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