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Smashing siblings: Apeejay School Mahavir Marg students Manya and Saanvi Ralhan shine at the district badminton championship

The sisters describe their training routine, inspirations and how the school has helped them excel in sport



Manya Ralhan and Saanvi Ralhan
Apeejay School, Mahavir Marg students including Liza Taank (top, in pink jersey) and Ishaan Sharma (above) excelled at the recently held Jalandhar district badminton championship at the Raizada Hansraj Stadium

Manya Ralhan and Saanvi Ralhan of Apeejay School Mahavir Marg emerged on top at the Jalandhar district Badminton Championship held recently at the Raizada Hansraj Stadium. Apart from them, Liza Taank and Ishaan Sharma also made the school proud by excelling in the championship. We interviewed the smashing sisters and picked their mind about what motivates them:

Could you both tell us about the different categories in which you participated and won in the recent District Badminton Championship?
Maanya: I won Gold in Under 19 Doubles, Under-19 Mixed Doubles, Under-17 Singles, Seniors Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles. I also won the Silver medal in Under-17 Mixed Doubles.
Saanvi: I won the Gold medal in the Under-11 Singles category. I was the runner up in Under-13 Singles and Doubles categories.

At what age did you both pick up the racquet?
Manya: I began playing at the age of nine.
Saanvi: I started at six.

What was the inspiration behind choosing badminton?
Manya: I started to play badminton as a form of exercise initially. My elder brother used to play the sport, so I used to watch him and occasionally played with him. Gradually I made it my passion as I started participating and winning tournaments.
Saanvi: Manya Didi inspired me to play badminton. I saw her and picked up the racquet.

What was your training routine for the District Championship?
Manya: I used to wake up at 5 in the morning. We had an early morning session from 5:30 to 7. Then we had another practice session from 9 am-12:30 pm. Then a final session at 5:30 pm to 8 in the evening.
Saanvi: I had the early morning session, then an afternoon session from 12:30 pm to 3 pm. My evenings were free.  

How has the school helped you in achieving your passion?
Manya: The teachers always motivate us. They give us notes as we are unable to attend classes. Prinicipal sir is very supportive and has given us special permission.
Saanvi: I usually miss just the final 2 classes. Teachers encourage us a lot to do well in badminton.  

Did you have any special dietary requirements?
Manya: We had a well-balanced diet consisting of more proteins and less carbohydrates. We have boiled eggs, chicken and lots of Dal (lentil).

Who are your favourite Badminton players?
Manya: My Favourite Badminton player is Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan
Saanvi: Saina Nehwal is my forever favourite.

Are you inspired by P V Sindhu? What are your aspirations in badminton?
Yes, we are both inspired by her but both of us want to win the gold medal for the country at the Olympics.

Do you train together?
Manya: We have different academies. I go to Doaba College.  I play in the Ratti Badminton Academy where Gagan Ratti and Varun Kumar coach me.
Saanvi: I practice in the Dipankar Badminton Academy.  It is located in Hansraj stadium, where the district tournament was held.

With two champions emerging from one home, your parents must have been a big support?
Manya: My father gets up very early. He takes us to the stadiums. My mother helps us with our studies and teaches us to balance academics with sports.

What are your strengths and weaknesses in the game?
Sanvi: Cross drop is my favourite shot while the backhand is my weakness
Manya: Dribble and attack is my strength. I think I too need to work a bit more on my backhand.

Being the elder sister, Manya, what tips do you give to Saanvi?
I tell her to be more explosive while running and to execute her shots better. She has a lot of potential.

What are the next tournaments in sight for you both?
Next we are preparing for the state championships in Mohali.  We are training hard for that.

How has Badminton helped in your growth and development?
Manya: Badminton has taught us sportsmanship. I won the senior singles for the second time consecutively. There is a board in the stadium where my name is written. It fuels me to do even better.
Saanvi: I won the Under 11 Singles again this year. I also feel very proud and want to learn more and perform better.

“Sport complements education. It teaches the values of fairness, teamwork, equality and discipline, thereby contributing to the development of soft-skills needed for responsible citizenship. Hence, at Apeejay, we lay an equal importance on all sorts of sports.”

-Girish Kumar, Principal, Apeejay School, Mahavir Marg, Jalandha

A talented correspondent writing special articles, interviews and also doing video coverages. Alongside being a poet, short story writer and football player in the time he finds away from work. You can read Arijit's literary pieces and watch his performances easily on the internet. He can be reached at [email protected] and [email protected]