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Home > City Resources > Sports & Recreation > Interview

  Aparna Popat  

The reigning Women's Singles National Badminton Champion, Aparna Popat talks about her aspirations and her love for the game.

Aparna Popat in action

You have been selected to represent India at the Sydney Olympics. How do you feel?
Very good! I feel proud to represent the country (a broad smile).

Your inspiration?
I derive inspiration from within. I have a great respect for Prakash Padukone. I like the Danish shuttler Peter Gade.

How do you keep your cool during crunch situations?
I am not distracted easily. Nothing disturbs me. I am always concentrated on the game.

Which are toughest teams to beat? How are Indian players coping with international standards?
China, Indonesia and Malaysia have a great system of training and very good infrastructure. They have excellent playing facilities. Indians are doing quite well, but we have to improve a lot. Gopi Chand, the present Men's Singles National Champion, has won the Uber Cup.

What are the ingredients required to be a top player?
Speed, agility, a soft touch and a lot of other things like concentration... And there are different styles of playing - defensive, aggressive... Each player has his/her own style.

You were out of action for the past several months. Sure you haven't lost the touch?
I believe in my conscience. Once your conscience is clear, everything falls into place. And once you start winning, you gain back people's support.

You haven't played much of doubles, rightů
I don't enjoy doubles. Though I play doubles in practice, I don't play in tournaments.

Your practice sessionsů
I practice for four and a half hours a day. Two hours in the morning and about two hours in the evening. I also do jogging, a bit of meditation, stretching and other exercises. We have a psychologist - B P Bam. He helps us to build confidenceů

Tell me something about the prize moneyů
I like trophies more than the money that comes with it. What you have learnt from victory is more important than all that. I sometimes give a part of my prize money to CRY.

H e r   F a v o u r i t e s,   H a t e s   a n d   o t h e r s ů

Zodiac Sign: Capricon
Music: Rock music of 60s
Dress: Jeans and T-shirt
Cine Star: Hrithik Roshan (crush)
Author: John Grisham
Leader: Gandhiji
Food: Home food, which my mother prepares
Afraid of: Heights and sssssnakesů.!!!!

Hate: Artificial people
Colour: Royal blue
Best place: Khandala
Restaurant: Sunny's on Lavelle Road (Bangalore)
Best friend: Bed!?!!?!!
Sports: Table Tennis and galli cricket
Principles: To be honest to myself
Ambition: Give the best in whatever I do

Smiling Aparna with the trophyDo you miss Mumbai?
I have been staying in Bangalore for the past 5 to 6 years. But all my friends are in Mumbai. I miss them a lot.

Your happiest moment?
When I won the first tournament and got a prize of Rs 50/- (laughs like a child).

Then, your embarrassing moment?
It was during a match. I was standing next to Prakash Padukone. A kid came and asked me for an autograph, but ignored him completely! (blushes)

You are presently sponsored byů
I'm employed with IOC (Indian Oil Corporation). Yonex, Citibank and BPL also sponsor me. The Petroleum Sports Control Board is doing a good job.

Has cricket overshadowed badminton?
Everyone is fed up of the scandals and the game. But cricket cannot be killed! Leander won a Olympic medal and tennis in India shot up like anything. If we start winning, I'm sure people will start following the game with more enthusiasm.

Your ambitionů
To get into the top 10 in the world and be the best.

Interviewed by J. Vinay



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