Anmol Kharb: A Phenomenon in Indian Badminton

In the vibrant landscape of Indian badminton, a name echoes with the resonance of 'priceless' — Anmol Kharb. Hailing from Faridabad, Haryana, this young shuttle virtuoso soared to unprecedented heights by securing the women's singles national badminton championship at the tender age of 16. 

Beyond her on-court prowess, what distinguishes Anmol is her exceptional mental fortitude and the unwavering support of her family. This is the compelling story of a rising star who is not just winning matches but etching a priceless legacy in the tapestry of Indian sports.

Anmol Kharb interview: On 'damn good feeling' of winning Asia team gold,  working with Sindhu and Gopichand and more | Badminton News - The Indian  Express
Anmol Kharb (Credit: The Indian Express)

Anmol Kharb, a name that has etched her mark in the illustrious realm of Indian badminton. Originating from the vibrant city of Faridabad in Haryana, this prodigious shuttler ascended to the pinnacle of success by clinching the coveted title of women’s singles national badminton champion at the tender age of 16. 

A mere year later, she orchestrated a momentous triumph by playing a pivotal role in securing a historic gold medal for the Indian women’s team at the prestigious 2024 Badminton Asia Team Championships held in Malaysia. Beyond the evident display of technical prowess and on-court strength, what sets Anmol apart is her remarkable mental fortitude. 

Born on January 20, 2007, in Faridabad, her tryst with badminton was kindled by the influence of her elder brother, Hardik. While Hardik chose the path of academic pursuits, Anmol embraced badminton with an unwavering commitment, buoyed by the robust support of her family, particularly her father Devender, an advocate, and her mother Rajbala. 

The early chapters of Anmol's badminton journey unfolded at Dayanand Public School in Faridabad. However, her ascent took a more defined trajectory when she joined the Sunrise Shuttlers Academy in Noida, under the astute guidance of coach Kusumm Singh. This transition was not merely a change of training grounds; it marked a crucial juncture in Anmol's career, signifying a leap towards a more focused and intensive training regimen. 

In a testament to familial dedication, Rajbala, her mother, relocated to provide unwavering support to Anmol's burgeoning career. In addition to conventional training methods, Anmol embraced a distinctive approach to augment her technical skills. Each morning, she would rise at the break of dawn to attend physical training classes conducted by a former international boxer in a local park. This unconventional regimen aimed at enhancing her physical strength contributed significantly to her playing style, characterized by devastating yet precise smashes that set her apart on the badminton court. 

Anmol's accolades are as impressive as her dedication. At the age of 12, she clinched the U-17 All India Ranking title in Hyderabad, marking her arrival on the national stage. In 2019, she reached the semi-finals of the Senior All India Ranking tournament in Visakhapatnam, a testament to her rapid progression. Her talent did not go unnoticed, as she was selected for the government of India's Khelo India scheme, designed to support budding athletes. 

The year 2020 witnessed Anmol's meteoric rise, as she secured the under-17 national titles in both singles and doubles, forming a formidable partnership with Vennala K. Her prowess extended beyond national borders, with commendable performances in international age-group tournaments, including reaching the pre-quarterfinals of the Asian Junior Championships in 2022. It was in 2023 that Anmol Kharb truly stepped into the spotlight. 

At the senior nationals in Guwahati, she displayed her dominance by outplaying Tanvi Khanna to secure her first senior national title at the age of 16. This triumph catapulted her onto the international stage, as she became an integral part of the Indian women's team for the Badminton Asia Team Championships 2024 in Selangor, Malaysia. 

The Badminton Asia Team Championships presented a formidable challenge, with India having secured only two bronze medals in the continental team event prior to this, both won by the men's team. Anmol, at 17, emerged as the chief protagonist in this historic win. In a stunning display of skill, determination, and composure, she played and won three decisive matches, including the crucial final against Thailand's Pornpicha Choeikeewong. 

The significance of Anmol's contribution is underscored by the fact that all three of her matches were deciders, demonstrating not just her technical proficiency but also her mental resilience. In the group stage clash against the People's Republic of China, she faced world No. 149 Wu Luo Yu, with few giving the then-ranked 472nd Anmol any chance of victory. Yet, she defied expectations and secured a hard-fought victory with a scoreline of 22-20, 14-21, 21-18. 

The semi-finals against Japan presented another formidable challenge, with Anmol playing the deciding tie against world No. 29 Natsuki Nidaira. A loss in this match would have meant India bowing out of the competition. However, Anmol, unfazed by the pressure, showcased her mettle by securing a convincing 21-14, 21-18 win, propelling India to its maiden final appearance in the competition. In the final against Thailand, where the scores were leveled at 2-2, Anmol once again took center stage. 

Facing world No. 45 Pornpicha Choeikeewong, she delivered a masterful performance, winning 21-14, 21-9 in just 43 minutes. This triumph not only sealed India's historic gold but also solidified Anmol Kharb's status as a rising star in international badminton. The resonance of Anmol's sensational run in Malaysia extended beyond the court, garnering praise from badminton stalwarts like Pullela Gopichand. He lauded her guts, confidence, and attitude, emphasizing that Anmol's performance in a deciding tie of a team event final showcased her remarkable character and skill.

 As the Sindhu-Saina era in Indian badminton eventually approaches its conclusion, the emergence of players like Anmol Kharb becomes increasingly significant. If she continues on her current trajectory of development, Anmol has the potential to carry the torch forward for Indian badminton, embodying a new era of talent, determination, and success. 

In tracing Anmol Kharb's journey, from a young enthusiast in Faridabad to a gold medalist on the international stage, one witnesses not only a story of individual triumph but also the shaping of a narrative that contributes to the broader tapestry of Indian sports history. Her tale is one of unwavering determination, exceptional skill, and a relentless spirit that has already left an indelible mark on the sport, hinting at the promising chapters that lie ahead in her promising career.

Anmol Kharb: The Gutsy 17-Year-Old Making Waves in the Badminton World |  Badminton News - Times of India
Anmol Kharb (Credit: Times Of India)

Anmol, with her extraordinary dedication, technical finesse, and mental resilience, symbolizes a new era of talent poised to carry the torch forward. Her historic triumphs at the Badminton Asia Team Championships not only secured gold for India but solidified her status as a beacon of promise. 

Anmol Kharb's journey, from the by lanes of Faridabad to the podium in Malaysia, is not just a testament to her individual triumph but a narrative that contributes to the rich tapestry of Indian sports history. As her story unfolds, it hints at the promising chapters that lie ahead in her illustrious career, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of badminton enthusiasts and inspiring the generations to come.

Cover Credit - The Indian Express

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