The highest honour that an athlete can get is recognition from his or her country for their efforts throughout the year. In the Indian context, when an athlete is nominated for an Arjuna Award or the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, it is a matter of pride, and the satisfaction that comes with it is unparalleled.
Amid several nominees for this year’s Arjuna Award, one such nominee is 25-year-old Harmeet Desai. The paddler, who hails from Surat, has lately been in exceptional form.
Asked how he felt when he got to know that he has been nominated again, he said, “It feels really good to be nominated for the second year in a row by The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI). It has been my dream to get an Arjuna Award. And I hope all the hard work that I have done in the past pays off.”
While the celebrations were subdued as he was nominated last year as well, the hunger to acquire the coveted trophy has surely intensified.
“I hope that I can get the award this year. My family is also looking forward and hoping for good news in the coming months,” he added.
During last year’s Commonwealth Games, Desai won bronze in men’s doubles with his partner Sanil Shetty, and secured gold in the men’s team event along with Sharath Kamal Achanta, Anthony Amalraj, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Shetty.
With several great results in the past few months, Desai shared more about his gameplay and the importance of competing in big tournaments: “Last year was a great year for me as well as for the Indian contingent. I hope I can continue to do well for the country in the future and bring more medals at big events.”
He added that the spirit of victory is indispensable for an athlete. “It is very important, the dream of every athlete to compete in mega-events. I have already played a few mega events and it has definitely helped me grow as a player,” he said in an e-mail interview.
Desai, who played his first national games at the age of eight, also spoke about his future plans.
“My target is to qualify for the Olympics, and I have been training for it in Germany since last year. I hope I will be able to achieve my goal!”
(Featured Image: FB/Harmeet Desai)
About the Author
Wasn’t and still isn’t certain about anything except that cricket is his first love. If he is not talking or writing about sports then he must be travelling. These two things help in restoring sanity in this insane world.