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Young table tennis star eyes win at 2028 Olympics5 min read

May 28, 2021 4 min read


Young table tennis star eyes win at 2028 Olympics5 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Adithya G

She may be young, but she’s already making waves in the world of professional table tennis. Mathan Rajan Hansini, or M Hansini’s penchant for the sport was discovered at an early age, and since then, there has been no turning back.

The eleven-year-old prodigy from Tamil Nadu made a mark in her first-ever appearance at an International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) junior circuit event last year. The seventh-grader cinched the bronze medal in the Mini-Cadet Girls’ Singles category at the Swedish Junior and Cadet Open in Sweden in 2020.

So early in her career, she has already been crowned national champion in the U-10 and U-12 categories. She spoke to Owliver as part of this week’s Trailblazers column – here’s what the young sports champion had to say…

How it all began

When I went to drop my elder brother Prithvi Vijay Karthik for training, the coach, Muralidara Rao, asked me to tap some balls. Murali sir asked me to come and play if I had the interest, and later, he told my mother that I have a talent for the sport. I started playing in tournaments within a month after that.

Eleven-year-old Hansini after a table tennis tournament. Credit: News18

How long has she been playing?

I have been playing for four years now.

Her experience in chilly Sweden at the championship last year?

I went there in February 2020. It was my first international experience and it was very memorable. The tables were completely different from the ones I was used to and so the pace of the game was faster. Also, it was very cold in Sweden. Even indoors, I felt cold while playing. But I reached the semi-finals in my category and it was a wonderful experience.

I like to excel in my exams just as I do in table tennis. I want to become a doctor like my parents and prove that table tennis is the best sport for all-round development

m Hansini, as told to the new indian express

Proudest moment

I am the happiest when I am playing table tennis, and proud to have competed with both senior and junior-ranked players. I cherish my victories against Samruddhi Kulkarni – ranked No 9 in India at the junior level – and the reigning sub-junior champion.

Her role model

Table tennis champion Sharath Kamal. He is the first Indian table tennis player ever to become nine times Senior National Champion. Credit: Times of India.

Table tennis star Sharath Kamal is my idol. I always look up to him for inspiration.

Other interests

I have a fascination for science, and Biology in particular. I am also very interested in mythology, and spend quite some time reading different stories on the subject. On the other side, I love to draw as well.

Her typical practice schedule

Hansini with her coaches

I used to put in six hours of practice everyday at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium before the pandemic led to the shutting down of sporting arenas. Now, I practice at my friend’s place.

Both my coaches, A Srinivasa Rao and A Muralidhara Rao supervise my training there. I practice for two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening.

What does a table tennis player need to focus on the most?

There is no physical skill that cannot be learnt through practice and perseverance. The shots and the movement in table tennis is something the body adjusts to through regular practice. However, the most important aspect to my game is purely mental.

In my sport, the skill aspect isn’t difficult at all – it’s all about using your brain to understand the strengths and weaknesses of my opponents. Concentration and game intelligence are vital.

Hansini in action

Her dream

A medal at the highest level. With the help of my coaches, I aspire to win at the LA Olympics in 2028.

Her message to our readers

Always stay humble. When you win, it is important not to let it get to your head and think that you are the best.

(Trailblazers is a bi-monthly column where we feature inspiring youngsters who are doing great things, in their own way)

Would you like to nominate someone you know to be featured in this column? Write to us at with their name, and what makes them a Trailblazer.

Images: Through Special Arrangement from M Hansini

Author’s Note: Adithya G is a freelance writer and sports enthusiast.