It truly takes a special character to not just excel in sports but also give back to the community. For international badminton player Hruitvik Ambekar, the 22 year old has already been ranked in the top 140 in the world (BWF World Tour Rankings) and has founded two organizations – an NGO called Tribus Organization and The Tug of Words which is a virtual debating forum. He was also the youngest Indian to have been invited to play in the Verbandsliga and was shortlisted as the ‘20 Most Brilliant Indians Across the World’.
In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, Hruitvik Ambekar speaks about his experience representing India, being shortlisted amongst the 20 brilliant Indians across the world, playing in the Verbandsliga, training para athletes, overcoming challenges and his future goals.
Q 1) How was the experience of representing India at the World Tour Superseries 500?
Prior to playing the India Open World Tour Superseries Tour 500, I had participated only in International Challenge & Series level tournaments which are relatively lower levels of International Tournaments. India Open Tour 500 is the highest level International tournament in the badminton category to be held in New Delhi, India.
Playing in your own country on your own turf is always a special experience, that too at a level of India open where you are representing India along with seniors like PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal or Kidambi Srikanth. It was one of the greatest experiences to have been surrounded by the best athletes in the world, I got a chance to interact with Olympic champions. The atmosphere and the aura that all superseries courts have are worth an experience. Overall it was a great experience to have played at this tournament
Q 2) How proud are you for being shortlisted as one of the “20 Most Brilliant Indians Across the World”?
I am grateful to my parents, my teachers, gurus & others who have contributed to this achievement. I take pride in this accomplishment but certainly not very proud as being proud of such an accomplishment might hamper the progress of my growth. I take pride in this accomplishment but I am definitely not proud of it, I believe there are many much bigger things to come in the future. I would like to take a moment here to thank my sponsors Mukul Madhav Foundation, Finolex Pipes & Rotary Club Of Poona for sponsoring me with basic needs.
Q 3) You are also the youngest Indian to be invited to play in the Verbandsliga, German League. Is that something you consider as a landmark event in your career?
Definitely, being invited to play in the Verbandsliga was a life-changing event for me. Very few Indians must have played in the German League. I was only 19 when I was invited to play in one of the highest leagues in Germany. It was a moment of pride and honor as I had never experienced playing at a league in a different country. Once I returned back to India, people's way of looking at me had completely changed. Playing on foreign land for a different team in a region where people are highly competitive and the games have high stakes, playing with these conditions built very strong mentally and I consider it as a landmark event because it gave me a lot of recognition.
Q 4) How was the experience of training para athletes at the Army Paraplegic Rehabilitation Center in Pune? What did you learn from the experience?
I started training the para athletes while I was still a junior hence it wasn't so new to me. I had watched them previously playing sports like basketball & table tennis. They were very curious to know more about the sport of badminton and were already very passionate to start playing. I had to do a lot of homework before we actually started training them, the reason being they had various categories of disabilities and playing with a wheelchair was something I needed to study in order to help them achieve better. After a lot of observation, I designed a programme which would be accurate for the specially abled people to excel in badminton in their categories. It has been a great experience to train with them, the humility, devotion, determination even with the worst circumstances and bad body conditions is something very admirable & these are the qualities one must learn from them.
Q 5) What are some of the challenges that you have faced in your career so far and how did you overcome them?
An athlete's life is full of challenges, I faced many challenges, all of them were accomplishable, never did I feel a particular challenge was difficult to convert into a possibility. Becoming a professional athlete, playing at the global level, maintaining a greater level of fitness, all of these are challenges with 2 solutions – consistency and persistent effort.
Q 6) What are your future goals and aspirations? How do you plan to accomplish them?
I aspire to join the Indian Army as an officer, I am preparing for my defense exams & with badminton, I am looking forward to coming into the top 100 by the end of this year so as to be able to make it to the World Championships in 2023. With all due respect, if I make it to the forces and if the forces allow me to represent through badminton, I would love to continue with that. I will try to play maximum International tournaments this year and make it to the world top 100.