Is Tasnim Mir the answer to India's quest of finding Saina-Sindhu's successors?

Two Indian girls, including Tasnim Mir, in the world’s top 5 in the BWF junior rankings sounds quite exciting for the badminton fans. Samiya Imad Farooqui of Telangana is second, while Tasnim Mir is occupying the fourth spot in the Under-19 girls singles rankings, giving plenty of hope for the future.

India is finding it really difficult to search for successors to Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu. At the time, these two teenage girls -- Tasnim Mir and Samiya Imad Farooqui -- are like a light at the end of the tunnel.

At just 16, Tasnim Mir is two years younger than Samiya. This prompts experts to believe that the Gujarat girl can fill the void between Saina-Sindhu and other upcoming shuttlers.

With age on her side, Tasnim Mir could become the next big thing in Indian badminton. Tasnim Mir's massive potential could be gauged by the fact that at the tender age of 14, she was crowned the National Junior champion.

Tasnim became the only girl in Indian badminton history to emerge as the national champion in the Under-13, Under-15 and Under-19 girls’ singles categories in successive years.

As a promising shuttler, Tasnim has the distinction of claiming the U-13 girls’ singles title in 2017 in Tenali, Andhra Pradesh.

In 2018, Tasnim Mir defeated Sakshi Phogat to bag the Under-15 national crown at the age of just 13 in Bengaluru.

Tasnim Mir becomes youngest to win U-19 national title

A year later at Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh, Tasnim clinched U-19 girls singles title, beating Vijetha Harish in the final to create a new Indian record. She became the youngest junior national champion at the age of 14.

Continuing her dominance on the domestic circuit, Tasnim Mir won U-15 singles and doubles titles at the All India Sub-Junior Ranking Badminton tournament in Hyderabad and at Nagpur in 2018.

Tasnim, who is India No. 1 in the U-19 BAI rankings, did not excel only in the domestic tournaments, she carried her excellent form at the international level too. A series of extraordinary displays in the BWF junior tournaments in the last few years propelled her to jump to the fourth position in the U-19 singles.

Tasnim said,

“I did really well in 2019 in India as well as abroad. I won the Dubai Junior International Series singles crown and the mixed doubles title pairing with Assam’s Ayan Rashid. Winning a double crown at the international tournament felt really good.”

Tasnim represented India at the World Junior Championships in 2019 in Russia, but she could not go beyond the Round of 32. She compensated for the average performance in Russia with a triumph at the Badminton Asia U-17 & U-15 Junior Championships in the same year in Indonesia.

She also emerged as champion at the President Cup Nepal Junior International Series 2020 in Kathmandu.

Tasnim Mir
Tasnim Mir

Tasnim, whose younger brother Mohammad Ali Mir is a Gujarat Under-13 boys singles champion, continued,

“Winning the singles title at the Junior ABC was perhaps the biggest achievement for me so far. I also claimed a bronze medal at the Dutch Junior International. I want to play the World Junior Championships slated to be held in New Zealand later this year and win a medal for India. After the Junior Worlds, I will mostly focus on the seniors from next year.”

Both Tasnim and her younger brother train at the Assam Badminton Academy in Guwahati under the guidance of foreign coach Edwin Iriawan. Tasnim has also played in the Premier Badminton League and shares a dressing room with the world’s top players including world No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei.

Winning 2024 Olympic medal is my target, says Tasnim

Tasnim Mir, who is supported by OGQ and is also part of the Central Government’s TOPS scheme, was quoted as saying,

“I was part of the Bengaluru Raptors team which has Tai Tzu Ying. Actually I like her style of play and want to play like her. She is naturally an aggressive player. My goal is to play for India at the 2024 Olympics and achieve a podium finish. I will give my best to realize my dream.”

Tasnim started playing badminton at the age of seven with father and badminton coach Irfan Ali Mir. Irfan runs a coaching center in Mehsana, around 50 kms from Ahmedabad. Irfan Mir, who is an Assistant Police Inspector (ASI) in Gujarat Police department as well, said,

“I used to bring Tasnim with me to the coaching center. She developed interest and started beating her older opponents. She became the sub-junior state champion. I then sent her to Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad where she trained for three years. I want to see her represent the senior Indian team and do well for the country on the world stage.”

Coach Edwin Iriawan is delighted with his ward’s progress so far. The Indonesian is optimistic about Tasnim’s better results in the senior category in the next couple of years.

“Tasnim has lot of potential. She is young and very hard working. She is developing fast into a quality player. If she keeps her focus and improves further, she has a big chance to reach the top in the next 2 to 3 years.”

Former Indian badminton team coach Edwin likes her aggressive style of play.

“The strength of Tasnim is her aggressiveness. She is more aggressive than the rest of the girls and a smart player. If she improves her stamina and fitness, then she will be a formidable player."

Saina’s former coach Edwin has trained both Tasnim and Ashmita Chaliha together for the last three years. Both Tasnim and Ashmita are seen as bright prospects of Indian badminton. He said by playing together the duo will only get better and better.

Edited by Rohit Mishra

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