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It’s a slam dunk for Goa’s Saachia Nathan

It’s a slam dunk for Goa’s Saachia Nathan

Goan basketballer Saachia Nathan makes it to the Khelo India Talent Development Programme among 40 other young talents from across India. Café shares her story

Nothing is impossible! If one has the desire and aim to achieve their goals, no one can deter them. One such case is Goa’s Saachia Nathan. The budding youngster defied all odds, inching closer to her goal of playing for India, by making it into the Khelo India Talent Development Programme among the 40 other players selected from other states.
The 17-year-old became the only Goan to be selected in this programme, wherein she would be developed for higher representation in this national programme.
There are endless story lines in the world of sports. Some are unique while the others scintillating. A B de Villiers first played hockey before picking the bat and creating his niche with his unique playing style, not forgetting his versatility and his ability to hit the ball beyond the ropes with his batting skill. Former Indian skipper MS Dhoni too wore different gloves before finding his position behind the wickets. One often finds the best through the paths least expected.
Saachia’s story is no different from these sports personalities. Introduced to the sport in 2014 by accident, Saachia took up the challenge by her friend in school to learn to play the sport.
“I first held the basketball in my 9th standard and I just couldn’t shoot a basket. That’s when my best friend started pulling my legs and said I couldn’t do it (in fun). And this made me to pick up the sport, wherein I worked tirelessly to get my basic right and to have my core strong,” explains Saachia, recollecting her school days.
Saachia, a swimmer and an athlete during her school days, also played football for her school team before picking up basketball. However, it’s the basketball that she loved the most.
“Initially, my parents wanted me to concentrate on the individual sports disciplines (swimming and athletics) but once they knew what liked the most, they supported me,” adds Saachia. It’s very rare for a player who picks up the sports so late to go on to become the best in it. But Saachia just stunned everyone as she went on to represent the state in the 2016 Women’s Federation Cup (National Basketball Championship). She was also the youngest player in the tournament at the age of 15.
For Saachia, the years 2014-2016 held a lot of meaning. She toiled day in and day out to be the best in the sport. Now it wasn’t just about learning the sport. She found her happiness and heart in the sport and wanted to pursue her career in basketball.
Following a different path, Saachia learnt basketball as well as coached young players at the Don Bosco Oratory, Panjim.
But just when it looked all right, Saachia was hit by a blow during one of the tournaments played at DBO Panjim. The budding star, who had just started to make her name in basketball, suffered an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear. The Grade 3 ACL tear kept her on the sidelines for almost six months. But that didn’t affect her growth, drive and desire.
“During my recovery period, I started searching institutions in Kerala so that I could improve my sports and then I joined S Joshi School in Kerala,” explains Saachia, stating that the reason for choosing Kerala was that it is one of the best states for Basketball.
However, it was only in February 2017 that Saachia could get on the court once again. But nothing had changed. High in confidence, her agility, quickness and her strength grew only better as she fought her way to learn and be the best.
“I wanted to play for Kerala since my ultimate goal was to play for India. Kerala is always placed among the elite groups at the national competitions and the selectors prefer to watch these matches and select the players.” she says.
However, Saachia failed to make it into the Kerala team, but, as they say, when one door closes, another opens. Saachia was welcome by the Goa team, who allowed her to play. Though Goa was placed in the pool C, the Goan youngster’s performance caught the eye of the national selectors.
“I never imagined I would make it. But I’m happy I did it. There is no stopping now as I will continue to give my best and strive to earn the Indian colours soon,” says Saachia, who is eyeing a spot in the India U-18 team as her chances are high to make it through after making it to the Khelo India programme. After all, difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.


This article was first published on Herald cafe on 29th July 2018

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