In A First, Odisha Boy Wins Natl Tennis Tourney

Bhubaneswar: Even as Odisha is going all out to project Bhubaneswar as the country’s  ‘Sports Capital’, the talent pool swelled further on Friday with 17-year-old Kabir Hans becoming the first from the state to win a national-level tennis championship.

He won the boys doubles of Clay Court National Tennis Championship Junior 2018 at Madras Cricket Club in Chennai.

Inexplicably joyous, Kabir said he has been preparing for the tournament since last two months. “My coach Todd Clarke took extra care and trained me well. It is so relieving to see hard work pay off,” he added.

The Odisha boy won the tournament along with Haryana’s Deependra Grewal, who trains with him at the same academy in Gujarat. They registered online and entered the tournament, Kabir informed.

“Initially, I did not want to pursue tennis as a career. I would watch my sister play and sometimes indulge myself in the same,” said this Class XI student of KiiT International School here.

With time, he fell in love with the sport and started playing it vigorously, especially after a coach from Bhubaneswar pointed out his potential.

His father, Chetan Hans, smiling from ear to ear and pride in his voice, said he is overwhelmed. “He started playing the sport when he was around seven and I would take him to Kolkata for various tournaments. He has definitely come a long way and seeing this growth and maturity in him makes me really proud,” he said.

For Kabir, his parents and sister played a huge role in bringing him to the position he is at today. “They would wake up with me early in the morning, at around 5 am, so I could go to train and practice. They inculcated this habit and changed their lifestyles for me. With their support, I am hopeful of bettering my performance in the days to come,” he added.

He is looking forward to getting through more such tournaments and represent India at international matches.

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