By Gordon D’Costa | Opening Doorz Editorial | December 23, 2016
Dedication, hard work and commitment are some of the fundamental aspects which shape the career of any person. That is exactly the mantra what young and upcoming tennis player Kashish Bote of Mumbai follows. Twelve-year-old Kashish, who at the age of seven for the first time held the tennis racquet and got on to the tennis court, has gradually been making strides up the ladder. By winning a slew of titles in the domestic circuit she has already carved a niche for herself among the tennis fraternity.
The Mumbai girl is currently ranked No. 4 in the state of Maharashtra and in the All-Inida AITA ranking, she is No. 19.
Quite naturally, like her sporting parents, father Balkishan and mother Lata, both National level kabaddi players and employed with Central Railway, Kashish, too, developed a sporting way of life. The 7th Grade student of Don Bosco International School (DBIS), Matunga, is equally good in academics as she has been among the top rankers in class. She states that this is possible because she follows a strict schedule, which helps her balance her studies and training sessions.
Balkishan mentions that there is no problem with his daughter with regards to her tennis and studies. “She is a disciplined child and knows exactly what she is doing. My wife and me don’t have to worry too much as Kashish is quite independent and spends an equal amount of time with her books as well,” reveals the proud dad.
After a brief swimming stint, the youngster was introduced to tennis by her dad and like a fish takes to water, Kashish immediately took a fascination to the sport. She is now enjoying every moment, hitting balls across the net and trying to demolish her opponents.
After learning the nuances of the game under the tutelage of Rakesh Singh at the Dr. Antonio da Silva High School courts for over two years, she started extensive training at the Navi Mumbai Sports Academy, Vashi, for a year and is now practicing with Johnny Patil at the Star Tennis Academy at the Don Bosco ground, Matunga.
A resident of Lalbaug in Parel, Kashish has been a force to reckon with at the schools level and she has dominated the Mumbai Schools Sports Association’s Inter-Schools competition winning the girl’s singles Under-10, Under-12 and Under-14 titles. She has now qualified to compete in the Under-14 age bracket as well.
Besides the Inter-Schools events, Kashish has bagged quite of number of medals (gold and silver) in National ranking All-India and MSLTA tournaments. The youngster believes that the hard work and dedicated training session are reaping the fruits of labour. “I practice for almost three hours every day (Monday to Saturday) playing tennis and working out on my game. Besides this, I do a lot of long-distance running to build my endurance levels and also some movements on the court to improve my flexibility,” reveals Kashish.
The student is a big fan of Russian superstar Maria Sharapova and has set her goals on playing international tournaments and representing India in the Fed Cup and other major events. She also adores Novak Djokovic and likes his attitude and his style of play.
Besides tennis, Kashish’s other love is listening to music and painting. “I enjoy listening to traditional Marathi music, but I am also into Western pop music,” she reveals. On court, between shots, during practice sessions, one can see her grooving to the beats she hums!
The way Kashish has been training and collecting titles, and the manner in which her father is monitoring her progress, along with her diet, brings to mind the manner in which Mahavir Singh Phogat trained his daughters—Geeta and Babita Phogat. Both the wrestlers made India proud. Their journey to the top and their father’s dedication is being celebrated on screen this week with the Aamir Khan-starrer Dangal.
Who knows, 10 years down the line, another film-maker would be inspired to script a movie on Balkishan and his daughter, Kashish!
Kashish has that fire to bring glory to India!
Winner: Girls’ Under-10 title, Singh Tennis Academy, 2013-2014
Winner: Girls’ Under-10 title, MSSA Inter-Schools Tournament, 2013-2014
Runner-up: Girls’ Under-10, State Ranking Tournament, Vazirani Club, January, 2014
Runner-up: Girls’ Under-10, State Ranking Tournament, Practennis Academy, Andheri, November, 2014
Runner-up: Girls’ Under-10, MSLTA State Ranking Tournament, January, 2015
Winner: Girls’ Under-12 title, MSSA Inter-Schools Tournament, 2015-2016
Winner: Singh Tennis Academy, 2015
Runner-up: All India Ranking Championship Series, Vazirani Club, April 2015
Runner-up: All India Ranking Championship Series, Matunga Gymkhana, June 2015
Runner-up: All India Ranking Championship Series, Practennis, September 2016
Runner-up: All India Ranking Championship Series, Dadar Club, May 2016
Runner-up: Singles & Doubles, All India Ranking Championship Series, Practennis, May 2016
Winner: Singh Tennis Academy, June 2015
Winner: Doubles, National Ranking Junior Championship Series, Kalina, June 2016
Winner: Singh Tennis Academy, June 2015
Runner-up: Doubles, Singles (Semi-finals), All India National Ranking Junior Talent Series, Kalina, November 2016
(Gordon D’Costa is a senior sports journalist. He has worked with the Free Press Journal and the Hindustan Times. He now focusses on highlighting young talent from across schools, apart from ensuring local sports gets its due coverage in the media)