Yashaswini graduates to senior tour with bigger dreams

With new challenges to tackle, the Karnataka paddler is eager as ever and hopeful of emulating the success she has tasted in the junior tour at the senior level.
Last Updated : 24 April 2024, 15:32 IST
Last Updated : 24 April 2024, 15:32 IST

Follow Us :


Bengaluru: Standing a few inches taller than the playing table, an eight-year-old Yashaswini Ghorpade entered her first-ever competition in the under-12 girls singles event at a State-ranking table tennis event in Mysuru 11 years ago.

She lost in the second round after knocking out a top-8 player in the first, but little did the young girl know back then that it was the beginning of a journey that would see her filling multiple cabinets at her home in Thyagarajanagar, Bengaluru with medals, trophies and accolades accumulated from all around. 

The Karnataka paddler is in the last leg of her junior career (under-19), and if were to take into account only the World Table Tennis (WTT) Youth series, she has played more than 30 events in this age group over the last three years while winning 19 medals in girls’ singles and adding 13 more in women’s doubles and mixed doubles sections. 

Now standing 5'5", the 19-year-old, who achieved the best U-19 world ranking of five in singles and one in doubles partnering Suhana Saini, has set foot into the senior tour with bigger dreams. 

“The overall development over the years was one thing, but the lessons I learnt by travelling and playing with and against so many players from all parts of the country and the world are really good,” said Yashaswini, who is the only Indian to win gold in all three categories (singles, doubles, mixed doubles) of the WTT Youth Star Contender events.

“But the most memorable moment of my junior career is me being a part of the Indian side that won the team bronze (U-19) at the World Youth Championships in Slovenia last year. Winning a team event for your country gives a different kind of happiness,” she offered. 

The youngster currently ranked 99 in the world on the senior tour, only the third Indian woman in the top-100, and some of the biggest hurdles ahead are facing higher-ranked experienced players in her quest of adding more international titles. 

“I gained a little exposure to the senior tour as I started playing it last year. And I understand that the quality is much higher than the juniors. I know I need to approach it with a different mindset and raise my game to compete with the best. 

“When I say different, I have to have the mindset that I’m also one of the best players in the world and believe that I have good chances to beat them. I’m excited for what lies ahead,” expressed the teen paddler. 

The Singapore Smash, a WTT series event, was the season’s first event for Yashaswini where she lost to Luxembourg’s Sarah De Nutte in the first qualifying round. The format, where all matches in the entire tournament are played on one table, was new and daunting for Yashaswini.

The tournament also saw the Bengaluru girl team up with one of India’s top-ranked players, Harmeet Desai, to become the latest mixed doubles Indian pair. And the duo, for now, are committed to play the entire season on the WTT Series tour. 

With new challenges to tackle and experiences to gain, Yashaswini is eager as ever and hopeful of emulating the success she has tasted in the junior tour at the senior level.

Published 24 April 2024, 15:32 IST

Deccan Herald is on WhatsApp Channels | Join now for Breaking News & Editor's Picks

Follow us on :

Follow Us