Reeth and Sanil look forward to returning with medalsJuly 23, 2022
Commonwealth Games-bound paddlers Sanil Shankar Shetty and Reeth Rishiya have only one thing on their minds right now: stay focused and return with medals from the Birmingham edition starting on July 28.
Sanil and Reeth have been fine-tuning their skills under Aman Balgu, himself a former SAF Games gold medallist and twice National Games medallist, at the AV Sporting Centre in Kondapur near here.
Sanil, a member of the 2018 CWG gold-winning men’s team and also a men’s doubles silver medallist, will be competing in the singles and doubles events while Reeth will be playing in women’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
Aggression and grit
“They have been training with me for the last four years. In the run-up to the CWG, the emphasis is on all-round improvement,” Balgu told The Hindu.
“Sanil is a very aggressive player and the only lefty in the Indian squad. Predominantly a forehand player. So, we are focusing on how to counter rivals’ attempts to break his rythmn,” said Aman.
“For a couple of years, Reeth was out of the top-16 in the country. Now, following hours of training and total commitment, she is in the top three. That she featured in five finals of seven recent National-ranking tournaments is a tribute to her grit and determination,” the coach said.
“She is an all-round player but sometimes has a tendency to falter under pressure. But, she has the strokes to beat anyone on her day,” Aman said about Reeth.
Trust in coach
Sanil, who has known Aman for a long time, said the latter helped him regain confidence and form when he was struggling a few years ago.
Reeth said: “Aman being an aggressive player himself, we gel really well during training sessions. I won’t say I am tense, but it is a different feeling, this being my first stint with the Indian team and that too for the CWG.”
“Every player will be under pressure, because in 2018 our women won team gold and this time three of us are new. But, we are prepared to bring back gold,” Reeth said.
“I am expecting three medals from my four events,” signed off a confident Sanil.