Ashish Bhalla creates waves in football

Twelve-year-old Ashish Bhalla gave up skating for football and now he's making waves having already represented India in an under-13 tournament.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:52 IST
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New Delhi:

Both the little masters in Indian cricket are from Mumbai, but now there's a ray of hope for Delhi. The city has a brand new football whizkid – Ashish Bhalla. The 12-year-old gave up skating for football and now he's making waves. He has dozens of medals in skating and could have easily made a career out of it. Instead amused by a few kids playing football, he gave up skating and started playing the game. On a roll His ball control skills are already an indication of his immense talent. He's currently a mid-fielder for the India under-13 team and he had a great outing in a recent tournament in Uzbekistan. Now he dreams of the day when he can play with his Indian idol, Venkatesh from the Mahindras. "I don't know if I will get a chance to play for the Indian senior team, but I am working very hard. I am trying as soon as possible to play with or against my favourite player Venkatesh," said Ashish Bhalla, Member, India U-13 Football Team. It's been just two years since Ashish took up football. Now he's a big fan of Barcelona and Manchester United. Looking ahead The Air Force Bal Bharati student was due to join the prestigious TATA football academy last year, but they decided that he was under-age. Harish Kumar, his coach at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium is certainly hopeful that a stint at TFA could just be the beginning of a promising career. "If he continues to work hard then I am sure he will go on to play for the country. I will be proud of him. He did very well at the TFA selections as well. This will help him play for the country and even a good club," said Harish Kumar, Ashish Bhalla's Coach. Skating however remains, Ashish's first love. All the medals at his house indicative of just how good he used to be. But he's quite confident that he's as quick on boots as he is on roller skates. "I have left skating now, but I like the sport a lot. Now I am concentrating fully on football. I only skate when there is a function in school," said Ashish. For now, Ashish is training for the Subroto Cup and is also looking forward to playing once again in the under-13 team, when the selections take place in October.