From Ahmedabad to Roland Garros, story of Ankita Raina, the rising tennis star

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise of treating sportsperson par with soldiers much before taking oath as prime minister has yielded commendable results. This time it is a story of a young tennis star from Gujarat, who now represents India in French open 2018.

Ankita Raina in action

Ankita Raina, from Ahmedabad, Gujarat currently ranks 187rd in WTA and has been qualified to play French Open at Roland Garros this year.

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Ankita Raina’s story goes back to 2013 when she met the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi and spoke  about her hard work and the dream of representing the country in tennis. Ankita had already travelled for 13 overseas competitions on her own financial arrangements and she said it was difficult to finance all the overseas tours. She met Modi and informed him about her financial constraints.

The then Gujarat Chief Minister asked her to give her best in the game and assured her that everything will be taken care of. He included her as a benefactor in state’s government scheme of Shaktidhoot Yojana. Ankita said, “He gave me a patient hearing. I told him that I am India’s number one player and the first from Gujarat to achieve it but still struggle to get sponsors. I can’t travel much due to financial constraints. He promised me that something would be done. And within a month I got a cheque of Rs. 5 lakh and now all my travel expenses are taken care of,” Ankita said that the money received then had a great impact on her career.

Ankita said that she doesn’t have to worry about anything now and focus on the game. Ankita’s coach Hemant Bendre, has said the state government is working on a policy to support Gujarat players from different disciplines during that time. “It all happened very fast. They launched the policy within a month of that meeting and Ankita along with others started receiving the financial support. It was a fantastic move by them and I hope other state governments also follow the same policy”, Bendre said that Ankita has been promised Rs 25 lakh per year.

As Ankita Raina is qualified to the French Open, it is a matter of proud for every Indian. With her grit and determination, the 24 year old has done the country proud.

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