They say, in sport, you get what you work for. You don’t get only by wishing, but by working your ass off. Little did I know that this proverb would truly imitate Mouma Das’s recent win at the National Championship in Pondicherry.
Let me take you back to September/ October 2014 in Patiala where we were training together as the national team for the Asian Games under Peter Engel, the training that literally transformed the player- Mouma Das. Despite knowing that she didn't make it to the team for Asian Games and already having been ignored for Commonwealth Games 2014, Mouma worked harder than any of us who made it in the team. She clearly lacked the required fitness, which is also not her forte, but worked hard to improve on that aspect, beating herself every single day. Guided by Peter on her technique, she followed his advice as if it was the supreme for her survival. She never missed even a single session, and played her heart out every single time she stepped in the court, giving equal importance to each session regardless of how her mind and body felt like. There were days of agony, restlessness and doubt but she held her head high, with belief in her heart which kept her going. Little did I know that she will be the woman to watch for this domestic season. There she was, Mouma Das, the current national champion in making.
Continuing the hard work back home, Mouma was constantly in touch with Peter who currently lives in Germany. Peter would give her exercises through YouTube videos and Mouma would follow it religiously. She changed the way she approached her training. Peter would give her sequences and strokes and monitor her progress through videos. Following a more disciplined approach, Mouma worked 7 hours a day 6 times a week.
|Mouma working with Peter in Patiala|
Winning the Central Zone National Ranking TT Championship, finalists in North Zone and standing on top of the ranking charts, she definitely announced her arrival.
Next I met her at Delhi, for the inter PSPB meet, just before Nationals. As I resumed my warm up with her on the very first day, I noticed a different Mouma Das- Toned body, quick reflexes, better technique, faster legs and more importantly -confidence added on to her single minded focus.
I clearly understood that she was ready for the battle.
They told her that it was the end. They ignored her for the major championships -the CWG and the Asians, married women can’t do it, she has aged, they questioned her fitness.
Standing 5 feet tall, the petite Mouma shut the critics by smashing out each of those fit-confident-technically sound-young-talented-brainy girls who were expected to win.
|NATIONAL CHAMPION in Pondicherry|
The very humble Mouma Das, who was awarded the prestigious Arjuna Award in 2013, credits her success to coaches Peter Engel and Avijit Roy Choudhary. Her pillar of strength is her husband, Mr.Kanchan Chakarborty who as encouraged her to work for something she didn’t even dream of. Defeating the popular approach to marriage where the woman is engrossed in domestic work, Kanchan made sure Mouma worked for long hours on the table, honing her skills. And he happily pursues his passion of photography while travelling with her. Clicking his own wife training! He can’t get luckier, can he?
Sharing the room with Mouma during the training camps, gave me an opportunity to know more about her as a person. She’s clearly a cleanliness freak. She would bathe 4 times a day and would make sure there is not a pinch of dust anywhere in the room. Her family is her world, well protected and happy. A very simple woman, Mouma Das is also very caring for those around her. She knows her strengths and weaknesses, is grounded and unlike other competitors, she encourages you to work hard.
|DIFFERENT SHADES OF MOUMA|
For records, Mouma has competed in 20 Senior National Table Tennis Championships from 1995 to 2014. Out of those, she has reached finals in 10, winning 5 and loosing 5. Before her 5th title last week at Pondicherry, she last won the finals in 2006 at Ajmer. She undoubtedly, personifies perseverance.
Her new journey has just begun. A new Mouma Das eyes the international arena. Her traumatizing flat kills give a scare to even the best of the Chinese. But, will she be able to convert her sensational form into some good wins? That’s the burden she currently carries on her shoulders.
An elated Mouma states her next goals:
1. To convert her Silver medal in 2013 Commonwealth Championships to Gold in 2015 Commonwealth Championships
2. The 2015 World Table Tennis Championships; by participating in this, she will become the only Indian table tennis player (both male and female) to participate in 14 World Championships.
3. Currently holds 13 Commonwealth medals; in the 2015 Commonwealth Championships aims to beat Indu Puri’s record of 14 Commonwealth medals.
Clearly, Mouma is back to training, keeping in mind the above stated goals.
|THE KILLER FOREHAND..!|
And this is just the beginning; Mouma has a long way to go if she keeps her fitness high.
The Little Golden Girl from Bengal has risen again. BEWARE..!!!