New Delhi:So what do Sania Mirza and Neha Aggarwal have in common, Well for starters they're both young, talented and have qualified for the Beijing Olympics. What's more, it's not only their skill with the racquet that sets them apart but also their attitude and while Neha may not be a well-known face in the world of Indian sport just yet, this Delhi teenager hopes to inspire a generation of young girls to take up table tennis one day!
Neha, a Delhi girl who got her ticket to Beijing by winning a quota place from the South Asian region. Neha upstaged her more fancied compatriots, India's Poulomi Ghatak and Mouma Das to grab the Beijing berth. Neha will now join Commonwealth Games' Gold medallist Sharath Kamal as part of the Indian contingent.
"Beijing olympics for me is a lifetime gift and am going there to gain a good experience, I'll be playing among the top 50 creamy layer of the world, and I don't have a pressure to perform that much because I'm still a junior and it's a senior level tournament that too the Olympics," said India's no. 1table tennis player.
Neha's parents are equally elated on her success.
"We would love to go to Beijing. In fact both of us (Mother) will be accompanying her to see how does she play and to motivate her," her father Narendra Kumar Aggarwal added.
Motivation tough has never been a problem with Neha, she started playing TT as an 8-year old after watching her brother take to the sport and before she knew it she'd won four national junior championship titles.
So India number 1, world number 18 in the juniors and the only Indian girl to qualify for the Beijing Olympics in TT but Neha Aggarwal is true athlete in more ways than one since she's also a former national skating champion.
Though she hasn't used the skates for many years but Neha's continues to be attached to them. She remembers skating on the Rajpath for hours before school especially before tournaments. But all that effort hasn't gone to waste, Neha feels she's learnt some valuable lessons from her skating days
"Quickness you can say because I was into roller skating and in that you need a lot of speed so may be my reaction time got better and my quickness to react well. As far as TT is concerned, I can say that my eye-hand coordination is good and the concentration gets better," she added.
And to top it all, Neha's got a brilliant academic record as well, she's currently pursuing a bachelor's degree at the prestigious St Stephen's College and works hard to maintain a balance between sport and academia. So what next?
"Before Olympics I used to say that my aim is to play for India in the Olympics but now that I've actually made it, I am going forward to the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and the London Olympics in 2012" said the 18-year lass.