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Consistency and patience will be key in Paris Olympics: Tanisha Crasto

Set to compete at the Paris Games, young shuttler Tanisha Crasto believes she and her women’s doubles partner Ashwini Ponnappa have the game to match the world’s best but need to work a bit more on consistency and patience to produce results at the Olympics.

The 20-year-old Tanisha and Ashwini, 34, made the cut for the Paris 2024 Olympics after finishing 13th at the end of the qualification cycle.

“I feel like one thing we could work on is being more consistent and having more patience on the court because one thing that is very common in this set of players is that the matches go very long and also they are very consistent with the way they play,” Tanisha told PTI.

“If we work on the same aspect, it could help us in tackling these players. I think we are already there at that level and I think we are very much capable of competing and even winning tournaments.”

The world no. 21 Indian pair will face the likes of heavyweights Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida (Japan), Chen Qing Chen-Jia Yi Fan (China) and Baek Ha Na-Lee So Hee (South Korea) at the Paris Games.

Tanisha said the experience of her partner Ashwini, a two-time Olympian, will hold them in good stead at the Paris Games.

“She’s one of the legends in Indian women’s badminton, she has a great level of experience. She has been in this field for so long which helps us on the court because she is very mercurial. She can change plans immediately if things are not working out and she is very motivating on the court. There has never been a time when I felt stressed. She gives me great tips on the court. These are the things which only come with experience, how to manage the pressure on the court and that helps me,” Tanisha said.

“I have always wanted to play with Ashwini (Didi). I don’t know how long Didi will be playing but my goal was to only learn as much as possible from her and do the best that we can,” said the Dubai-born shuttler.

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Tanisha and Ashwini came together in January last year and soon started to do well at the lesser-graded BWF events and eventually edged out compatriots Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand in the race to the Paris Olympics.

“When we decided to play, we just said let’s give it our best shot and who knows we might make it to the Olympics and the second half of the year, that is when we found out that we too are in the race to the Olympics but even then I did not really think about the Olympics,” said Tanisha.

“I was just excited to play each and every tournament and go out there and perform my best and before you knew, we started winning small tournaments. The challenge (Nantes International) in France, that’s where it started, then the Abu Dhabi Super 100 and then the 3–4 tournaments that happened in India,” she said.

“The quarterfinals in Malaysia, I think that was the biggest turnover and those were the tournaments that pushed us in front of Gayatri and Treesa so for me, it has always been small wins that added up to the big picture,” she added.

Tanisha made the transition from mixed doubles to women’s doubles after her partner Ishan Bhatnagar suffered a horrific injury on the court. Things seemed bleak then but she found an able ally in Ashwini.

“At that point when I was playing mixed doubles, I was supposed to play in the Olympics. It was very tragic and traumatizing because Ishan fell on the court and he tore his complete ACL and it was very traumatizing because I was there with him when he was playing that match,” she said

“The next couple of months were very difficult because I myself was scared to play, I was like what if this happens to me. It just takes one wrong step because I saw it happening right in front of my eyes,” she added.

“It was difficult but it was the same time when Didi and I decided to play together. We decided over food and thought why not give it a shot? We thought this decision would work out. I never had any doubts as it was a great opportunity to play with Ashwini Didi,” she concluded.

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