These young players will hope to represent India on the big stages for many years to come.
In recent years, India has been witnessing the rise of a lot of promising young athletes in various sports. This influx of talented sportspersons will play a vital role in India’s performance in world events in the coming years. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at ten such Indian teen athletes who have the potential and are projected to achieve a lot in their respective sport in the years to come.
Anahat, the 14-year-old, was the youngest Indian athlete to compete in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games 2022. However, Squash wasn’t her first sport as she started off by playing badminton at the age of six. It was her sister Amira, who played squash that ignited her interest in the sport.
The 14-year-old rose to prominence after she won the Girls Under-11 title at the British Junior Open Squash in Jan 2019. This was followed by the Under-13 Girls title at the Dutch Junior Open Squash in July of the same year. She was included in the Squash contingent for the Commonwealth Games 2022 on the back of her Girls Under-15 of the Asian Junior Squash Individual Championships. The teen sensation even got off to a great start in the Commonwealth Games 2022. She won her first game in dominating fashion. However, she had a tougher challenge awaiting her in the form of Emily Whitlock, a former World No. 12. Emily defeated her and knocked her out of the tournament. Even though she was defeated, Anahat did not go down without a fight. Her brief stint at the games gave a glimpse of how talented she is.
Amit Khatri, the 18-year-old racewalker from Haryana, who competes in the 10,000 m category shot to fame after his silver medal victory in the U-20 World Athletics Championship held in Nairobi, Kenya. Khatri was also included in the contingent for Commonwealth Games 2022 but he could not impress as he finished ninth in his category. With his current potential and age by his side, Khatri is projected to bring various laurels to the country in the future.
Naorem Roshebina Devi
Wushu might not be the sport that we get to hear about every day but for Naorem Roshebina Devi, the sport is all about grit, perseverance which makes her work hard to achieve laurels at the highest level and make her country proud. The 19-year-old won a bronze medal in Asian Games 2018, Jakarta and a gold medal in the 2019 South Asian Games in the women’s 60 kg category. Going ahead, Devi will surely be the one to keep an eye out for in the future.
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Long jumper Shaili Singh, an 18-year-old hails from Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh. The young athlete currently holds the national record for the long jump in the Under-18 category. She trains under veteran Indian long jumper Anju Bobby George and her husband Robert Bobby George. Shaili gave everyone a glimpse of her immense talent when she secured a silver medal at the World Athletics Under-20 Championship, Nairobi, Kenya. Training under one of the best former athletes of India, Shaili is surely setting the foundation to become one of the vital cogs of the Indian athletics contingent in the coming years.
Even though Bavleen Kaur could only manage a 28th position finish in the round hoops, clubs and balls. A 26th finish in the Ribbon and Rhythmic gymnastics, the 19-year-old from the state of Jammu and Kashmir showed one and all that she was the one to look out for in the future. Bavleen took up the sport of rhythmic gymnastics, a sport that rarely comes about at an early age. She has dealt with a lot of hurdles while pursuing the same. With her passion for the sport, the young gymnast surely looks like she is on the path to bringing various laurels for the country in the coming years.
Hailing from the Cherupuzha district in Kerala, Treesa Jolly has been one of the names that have been doing rounds in the Indian badminton arena in recent times. Currently, she has proved her mettle in both the mixed and women’s doubles categories. The 19-year-old won two medals for the country in the Commonwealth Games 2022 Birmingham. Silver in the mixed doubles category and a silver in the women’s doubles category. The young athletes’ rise to play for India at the highest level has been nothing short of extraordinary. She had to deal with various issues to pursue the sport that she liked. As the BWF World Championship will be starting on 22nd August 2022, Jolly will be leading India’s hopes for a podium finish in the women’s and mixed doubles categories.
Born into a family where the sport of Badminton runs in the veins, Gayatri Gopichand is the daughter of former Indian shuttlers Pullela Gopichand and P.V.V. Lakshmi. The 19-year-old has shown glimpses of her exceptional talent on the court in her brief shuttling career up till now. She was a part of the national women’s team that clinched the gold medal at the 2019 South Asian Games and also secured a silver medal in the women’s singles in the same tournament. Gayatri along with Treesa Jolly secured a bronze medal in the women’s doubles category at the CWG 2022 and the pair will be once again appearing on the court together in the BWF World Championship 2022 that begins tomorrow.
The 18-year-old gymnast, even though she did not have an impressive outing at the Commonwealth Games 2022. She did manage to grab the attention of the spectators as she qualifed in the women’s all-round final. In the finals, she scored 43.000 in the women’s all-around final. Her performance in the final saw her finish 17th in the category. Nataraj’s individual apparatus scores were 12.950 in the vault, 10.000 in uneven bars, 10.250 in the balance beam and 9.800 in the floor exercise.
19-year-old Sumit Kundu, who hails from the Narwana part of Haryana has been one of the brightest young boxing prospects to have emerged out of the domestic arena. Kundu’s life hasn’t been easy as he lost his father quite a long time ago and it was his village elders who supported him so that he could pursue his passion. Kundu competes in the 75 kg category. He has won a gold medal at the 2022 Thailand Open, 2021 Senior Nationals and 2019 Khelo India games. Kundu was a part of the Indian boxing contingent at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham. But could not make a mark as he was knocked out of the tournament by Australia’s Callum Peters 5-0.
Diya Chitale, the teen table tennis prodigy who has been dominating the domestic circuit for quite some time now is one of the brightest talents to keep an eye on in the future. She is a young and enthusiastic rising star in the world of table tennis in India. The right-handed paddler with her aggressive style of playing takes most of her opponents aback, most of whom are much elder than her. The forehand drive is her forte and she executes that with both perfection and precision. She recently won the gold medal in the U-19 WTT Youth Contender Lima in May 2022.