Ayodhya lad wins maiden U-11 national badminton title

LUCKNOW Fondly called “Harry Potter” by his family, 10-year-old Divyansh Singh is highly inspired by the energy of the star character of the seven-part fantasy novel. The boy mesmerizes everyone with his energetic acts, often jumping on the wall of his house and showing his balancing act!

The fitness of this Ayodhya lad took him to the badminton court at the age of just three in 2015. Seven years on, the boy on Thursday became the first-ever national champion in the boys’ under-11 category at the mini nationals at Noida. This category was introduced for the first time.

Divyansh outplayed Assam’s Anikesh Dutta 21-17, 21-16 in straight games. The maiden title of the under-11 girls’ singles went to Telangana’s Hamsini Chadaram, who brushed aside Assam’s Subhrasree Smita Baruwati 22-20, 21-17 also in straight games.

“I was confident about winning and didn’t allow Dutta to free his arms and kept tossing the shuttle up, while winning the first game. In the second, we were locked at 14-all at one moment. Thereafter, I chose to play an attacking game and won easily in the end,” a confident Divyansh said after the match.

The lad, who had both singles and doubles titles in the under-11 category at the state championship in Bareilly last month, on Thursday said he participated in the mini nationals only to win the title.

“My parents allowed me to participate in the nationals, only if I was confident, and so, I had to win at all costs,” said Diyavnsh, who would also be participating in the sub-junior nationals, starting Saturday, at the UP Badminton Academy in Lucknow.

Divyansh’s mother, Pratibha Singh, an RJ with the All-India Radio (AIR) in Faizabad, said the family wanted to channelize Divyansh’s energy into sports, and badminton was the only sport known to the family at that time.

“Divyansh used to go with his elder brother Vipransh (also a shuttler) for training at Faizabad stadium, where he took up badminton. Even now, he is a naughty boy, who loves doing all the tricks at home to keep all of us entertained,” she said.

Coach Anoop Dubey too said that everybody was amazed to see the energy of Divyansh even at the age of three. “I told his parents to leave him with me at the badminton court as it was the best sport to channelize his energy. He is quite impressive at the nets, especially in dribbling and hitting powerful smashes,” he said.

“Whenever he finds his seniors roaming free in the badminton hall, he asks them to play some games with him, and his never-say-die attitude has been his hallmark,” said Dubey, an NIS coach with no job in hand, as in the post-Covid situation he wasn’t appointed on ad hoc basis.