by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
The journey that started in the living room of a neighbour in Mumbai has now turned Aditi Anand from an advertising guru to a travelling mother of an international player; when Aadil started to play table tennis when seven years old as a pastime, no-one envisaged hge would travel to world.
“Initially my son was doing swimming, soccer and golf, all these are outdoor sports; that was when we were living in Singapore; when he was seven, we moved to Mumbai and there was a heavy downpour which prevented him from going out for the sports he loved. Our landlord’s children used to go to another neighbour’s house to play table tennis in their living room so my son joined them. It was there he was introduced to the game. Six months after he competed in a local tournament and he finished in runners up spot in the Under 10 years event.” Aditi Anand
It was a turning point, a pivotal moment and another soon followed.
He pasted a poster of Swedish legend, Jan-Ove Waldner on his bedroom wall Later his family moved to London where a few days after their arrival Jan-Ove Waldner was giving a coaching clinic organised by the Fusion Club Topspin sports.
“My son was really inspired when he had the opportunity to play against someone he admired by pasting his poster in his room. So meeting Jan-Ove Waldner in London fired up his interest more in the sport.” Aditi Anand
Undoubtedly it was the watershed moment.
“We were in London for more than three years; he played for the Fusion club and a leading player in his age group in England. He became number one in England on the Under 11 Boys’ Rankings then later on the Under 12 Boys’ Rankings; these feats increased his passion for the sport. We left London in August 2017.” Aditi Anand
The family moved to Mumbai and specifically to Maharashtra State in Western India, the young Aadil Anand continued to follow his dream.
“He attended an American School in the United Kingdon; when we moved back to India, he joined the America School in Bombay and he was picked as one of the high potential students in the school. The school has also been supportive.” Aditi Anand
Now, mother travels the world with her son.
“I was into advertising for over 16 years and the job entails travelling. I also realized that his dad was also travelling because of the nature of his job. At that time, my son was too young and I needed to be accompanying him to competitions, so I quit my job to take up this new job of accompanying him. I must say it has been adventurous because I found out that he enjoys what he does and this is what is very important for parent.” Aditi Anand
There is total family support.
“You cannot box the passion of your children; you must allow them to explore early in life. It is also wrong for a parent to channel the dream of their children to certain areas, you must give them the opportunity to explore and when you discover that the spark has been ignited, allow them to follow it. Don’t try to stop them; you will be amazed at what can be achieved; since taking to table tennis, I realized that my son grasped things very fast particularly in his studies and we could not imagine the kind of impact the sport has had on him.” Aditi Anand
A debut in Slovakia in 2013, in 2017 Aadil Anand won the Under 12 Boys’ Singles title at the Janos Molnar Invitation tournament in Budapest, before emerging successful in the Under 12 Boys’ Singles and Under 12 Boys’ Team competitions in Vilnius, Lithuania.
“We have seen the gains and we want to continue to oil his dream. We hope this year he can compete more in India in order to get back into the national ranking. We decided again to attend the Tunisia Junior and Cadet Open this year in order to see how different players have competed in Europe in the last three years.” Aditi Anand
Like every parent, Aditi Anand is hoping and believing that her son will succeed and gain high level of success: in Rades the signs are positive.