The youngster is one of the finest upcoming squash players in India.

Samairah Bhandare is a name that is gaining attention fast in the squash circuit. The Vasco resident began with tennis but found squash was more to her liking. She has become a strong performer, delivering many noteworthy performances ever since she picked up the squash racquet. Her performances in many reputed squash tournaments and national championship over the years make her a very promising talent.

Before the COVID-19 restrictions halted all sporting activities in the country in 2020, Samairah was ranked at #9 in the Girls Under-15 category in India. The ensuing lockdowns caused a waste of time for the youngster. However, she is training and squash enthusiasts cannot wait to see her back on the court.

Keeping the focus on the brilliant player, let’s find out who is Samairah Bhandare and how she is making waves in the sporting community.

Early Stages

Samairah Bhandare showed interest in racquet sports reportedly since she was only six-year-old. She played tennis for about two years and also took part in soccer in school and other track and field events. However, the insistence on tennis, despite the logistical issues, led to some problems for the family. A meeting with the then #1 ranked squash player, Akanksha Salunkhe, led to Samairah begin her squash training with Coach Rehman. Samairah picked up the sport at nine, and after only one year, took part in the National Circuit in the U-11 age category. 

Past Performances

A look at the last four tournaments that Samairah participated in, shows the promising nature of her talent. She finished fourth in the Juhu Gymkhana Squash Open, followed by the third position at the Silver Springs Indore Open. She went on to secure the first position at the 2nd Goa Closed Championship. Her last tournament appearance was the ISA Circuit Junior Open in Chennai where she finished second. All of the appearances are in early 2020 between the months of January and February. Since then, the lockdowns have kept her out of action.

Support From Family

Every young athlete needs support to pursue their dreams and this is where parents play a huge role. In Samairah Bhandare’s case, her parents Raj and Sneha Bhandare are very supportive of her. Her mother would take the time and accompany her to training sessions for three hours on end. Moreover, her father would take her to the beach for running and work on her fitness development. Samairah’s parents are essential to her development as a player and deserve a lot of credit for keeping her focused. 

She has received support from her grandparents in Chandigarh as well, taking care of all the arrangements during her coaching in the city. All her family, including her aunt and uncle, are extremely supportive of her dreams and this will certainly play an important part in her career. 

Role Models

Among many role models, she takes strong influence from her father Raj Bhandare and aunt Shweta Uppal. Yash Fadte, the #1 ranked player in the BU-19 category is also someone she looks up to. They are both from Vasco and play with each other whenever an opportunity presents itself. Khushwant Singh, her coach, is a major influence as well, who looks after her physical and mental development apart from being a great mentor. 

Despite losing 15 months of training due to the pandemic, Samairah remains extremely driven. Her passion for the game keeps her very motivated and is a great quality in her. 

Coach’s Words

Her coach Khushwant Singh describes Samairah as someone who is very unassuming. She is agile, an attack-minded player and has no ego problems, according to the mentor. The youngster remains focused during her three-four hours long training sessions, which is a praiseworthy quality. 

Her willingness to listen and take feedback is a real asset too, according to the coach. Khushwant Singh also believes she can become the next Indian sensation with time, dedication and patience. A former national level player himself, who has 18-years of coaching experience, Khushwant is a very capable mentor who will help Samairah reach big heights. 

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