INTERVIEW WITH NEHA AGGARWAL INDIAN TABLE TENNIS PLAYER
In 2008 Beijing Olympic she was one of the youngest in the Indian contingent and only female TT player to represent India.
Indian Table Tennis player Neha says, many times, we work hard and do everything possible, but what remains as a barrier is our belief in ourselves. Once we have it, the possibilities to achieve our dreams is limitless. Also, you have to work hard, there are no short cuts.
She started playing TT at the age of 7. Her elder brother used to play TT in school and one day he won a silver medal in a local tournament. Her parents were very excited by his brother achievement and they decided to put both of them into TT coaching. That’s how she started playing. Initially, she did not like the sport too much.
I would go for practices because I liked spending time with my brother. But I was always very hard working and sincere. So I got better and better in TT. I won my first National title in Under -14 category in 2001. That's when I truly realized that I love playing the sport and want to play for my country as well and represent India at the Olympics, "she says."
Indian Table Tennis Player Neha Aggarwal, talks in brief about her life, journey and her ambition in an exclusive interview with CLIQTAX:
CT: How did you get inspired to pursue sports after studying in the premiere institutions in the country and when you could have easily managed to get a secure/guaranteed job?
NA: I was really inspired to play TT, since when I was 11-12 years old. As I got better in the game and won more tournaments in India and at the international level, my passion for the sport grew. In my opinion, studies and sports go hand in hand. In fact, my school DPS RK Puram, encouraged me a lot to keep playing and was a big support system.
Even my college - St. Stephen’s College in Delhi supported me a lot. Getting a secure job was never the aim. My only aim was and is to see India win medals at the international level. I eventually got a job in BPCL but it was a bi-product of my achievements. The bigger aim was always to win medals for India.
CT: How do you think the field of sports works, is it unpredictable, extremely competitive? How do you keep up with these changes?
NA: Yes it is unpredictable and extremely competitive, especially in sports where there is mass participation worldwide. Success in not guaranteed. But I can assure that if you work hard and smart with passion and determination, you will be successful.
Sports makes you very rough and tough. The nature of being unpredictable means that sports teaches you how to handle adversity, wins and losses. That's in a way learning life lessons.
CT: How often do you practice tennis?
NA: I used to practice around 5-6 hours on the table as TT is a very technical and skill based game. Another 1-1.5 hours would be for physical fitness.
CT: Please tell us something about your Olympics experience.
NA: My experience at the 2008 Beijing Olympic was really memorable. I was one of the youngest in the Indian contingent and was the only female TT player to represent India. The opening ceremony was an incredible event, especially the parade of nations. Our ceremonial dress was saree and it was a special feeling to wear it and represent our culture.
As I walked through the bird's next stadium with the tiranga carried by Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, it was a special feeling to be at that stage amongst the best players in the country. The Olympic Village is also a one in a kind of experience as you get to live and eat with the best athletes from various sports from all across the world.
It's the only tournament where one can experience this. Olympics was truly a lifetime experience for me.
CT: What changed you feel in yourself after participation in the Olympics?
NA: I think I understood the significance and meaning of why Olympics is so special and the most important tournament for an athlete. I also became more passionate and driven to see India win more medals at the Olympics. I also changed as a person as I really understood the honour of representing India at the Olympics. I also realized how far we were away from winning a medal at the Olympics in TT.
I realized that there were so many things we were not doing right - in our daily training, the way we were managed, the system, the planning, the entire perception towards sports and especially for women in India, etc. We needed to improve much more to be able to win medals at the Olympics.
CT: Is playing for winning instead of just pursuing one's passion better than the latter?
NA: It depends what your goal is. If you want to play for India and make the nation proud & be a professional player, you need to play to win. But if you want to play to just be physically fit, you can also play it as just pursuing your passion.
CT: What would be the advice you would give to the young ones for whom you are an inspiration, especially the women who look up to you?
NA: As women, we need to believe that we can achieve whatever our aims are. We need to be mentally strong and believe in our capabilities. Many times, we work hard and do everything possible, but what remains as a barrier is our belief in ourselves. Once we have it, the possibilities to achieve our dreams is limitless. Also, you have to work hard, there are no short cuts.
CT: At last, a few words you want to say about our CLIQTAX and your experience about it?
NA: In the current situation where everything has moved to digital platform, this is a good place to get information about various available financial services.
CLIQTAX extends heartiest wishes to Ms. Neha Aggarwal for her journey as a sports player and wishes her Goodluck for her future. Kudos to her for such an amazing interview.