Pune: Hard work and support from parents were two important elements which played a major role in Ankita Raina’s bronze medal winning performance in the ongoing Asian Games at Jakarta-Palembang.
“Support from parents is the most important aspect when you compete in sports like tennis. Many of them don’t get it, but I was lucky enough to to get it. Along with support, I put my best efforts on court and that is the reason I got a medal,” Ankita Raina told Sakal Times during the launch of a Sports Nursery at PYC Gymkhana on Wednesday.
Raina became India’s second women’s singles medallist at the Games after Sania Mirza, won a silver in Doha (2006) and Guangzhou (2010).
“It is a very proud feeling that after Sania Mirza, I am the second women to achieve this feat,” expressed Ankita who lost to Chinese Shuai Zhang 4-6, 6-7 (6-8) in the semifinal.
Pune based player, Ankita who has represented India in Fed Cup, 2014 Asain Games and Asian Indoor Games brought all her experience into play while playing in the Asian Games.
“I am glad that I had a very good Fed Cup earlier this year. Playing for the country is all different than playing on the tour. All that experience and tough games helped me improve my performance in the Asian Games,” said Ankita.
Maintaining fitness was another challenge for Ankita as she was playing three matches a day - Mixed doubles, Women doubles and Singles.
“It was hot and humid out there. Earlier, I had played tournaments in South -East nations, so heat was not an issue for me but staying fit was a big issue as I was playing three matches in a day.
“Maintaining fitness was the key, I was following my routine properly, whether it was stretching or taking an ice bath. Everything was followed on priority,” added Ankita who ranks 194 on the WTA Ranking.
Ankita who played against higher seeded players during the Asian Games didn’t focus much on ranking. “It’s all about playing good and giving the best results. All the rest will be taken care.
Ranking is something which helps you to get entry in big tournaments, so getting under 100 is also my aim. but I don’t keep on thinking about rankings all the time,” added Ankita.
Sponsors help a lot
Sports Authority of Gujarat supported Ankita hopes to get more sponsors in coming years as it will help her to participate in more tournaments. “I generally travel alone but if there is a financial aid then I can take along someone as it helps you a lot.,” added Ankita.
Ankita included in TOPS
Anikta Raina, who has displayed good form this season both in the Fed Cup and the professional circuit, was included in the government’s Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS). “Wishing you all the best for your future endeavours, Ankita! Hope you continue making the nation proud. Many congratulations @ankita_champ ! #TOPSAthlete #SAI,” the Sports Authority of India wrote on its Twitter handle.
Ankita’s Performance at asiad
Semifinal: lost to Shuai Zhang (Chn) 4-6, 6-7 (6-8)
Quarterfinal: bt Eudice Chong (Hkg) 6-4, 6-1
Round of 16: bt Eri Hozumi (Jpn) 6-1, 6-2
Round of 32: bt Beatric Gumulya (Ina) 6-2, 6-4
Round of 64: Beatrice Gumulya (Ina) 6-2, 6-4