Prachi Tehlan, face of Indian Netball team began playing the game in 2007, when her college director asked her to participate in the netball inter- college tournament. She didn’t even know about the game at that time. Six feet tall girl landed in this sport because of her height. Almost after a month, she got a letter from the Netball Federation Of India mentioning that she has been selected to attend the Indian camp for the Commonwealth Games 2010.
This pitched her journey to 20 days Indian netball camp for CWG 2010, in the year 2008. She secured a place in the best 16 which was trained under the Sri Lankan foreign coach Lourdes Jayasekera.
Her passion towards the game made her work even harder and made her achieve the prestigious position of the captain of the team for the Commonwealth Games 2010.
Prachi talks Akshi Aggarwal about her life post Commonwealth Games fame and her future plans. Excerpts:
ISN: How is the feeling of being the captain of the Indian Netball team?
Prachi: It feels really great. I never thought that I’ll be endowed with such a prestigious position for Commonwealth Games 2010. It’s just been two years that I started playing this game. I never imagined that I will be leading the team.
ISN: What made you choose this sport which is not very popular among masses in our country?
Prachi: I use to play badminton at school level and later opted for basketball. I participated in many tournaments in basketball at different levels. It was during my first year of college that my sports in charge brought me into this game. Since then there has been no stopping.
ISN: What was your and your family’s reaction when you were made the captain of the team?
Prachi: It was a great honour. My parents were really proud of me. I never thought that I will be given this responsibility, especially when there were many players in the team who were much senior and experienced.
ISN: Now that you have played on international level, what difference do you see in your team and international teams?
Prachi: International teams like Australia and New Zealand excel in this sport. In fact, New Zealand bagged the first place in CWG 2010.
But there has been immense improvement in India’s performance. We secured fourth place in Asian youth netball opener-July 2010. But there is lot to be improved as the level of the other teams is much higher. We lack in experience.
ISN: Are you happy with the facilities and infrastructure provided by the government to netball players?
Prachi: Not really. Netball was to be included in Railways and we were told that we will get jobs post CWG 2010. But till date nothing has been done and there are no jobs for netball players. Government provides other facilities but stadiums are not always open for us to practice. For instance, Thyagaraj Stadium was not provided to us for the national camp last year to practice for the Singapore Open. There is very less money and no job opportunities.
ISN: Do you think after the CWG 2010, people have started knowing this sport?
Prachi: Definitely yes! But still it’s not as popular as other sports like cricket, tennis, basketball, and football. It’s not equally popular in all parts of our country. In fact it’s quite famous in some parts like UP and Chhattisgarh. I play for Uttar Pradesh team.
ISN: Who inspires you to work hard and who is your favourite player?
Prachi: My coach Amit Sharma has been playing an instrumental role in my journey so far. He is one man who has the maximum knowledge of the game and his techniques of coaching are very advanced. My favourite netball player is Sheril Macman, who is the captain of the Australian team.
ISN: What was the last tournament you played?
Prachi: I participated in the U.P. State Championship. I played from Ghaziabad and our team won the tournament.
ISN: What are your future plans as of now?
Prachi: I’m pursuing Marketing Management from IMT, Ghaziabad and planning to move to Canada for higher studies in the field of sports later this year.
ISN: Have you been offered modelling assignments?
Prachi: Well, No! Neither I’m interested in all this. I was among the top ten glamorous faces in the CWG 2010, which included Jwala Gutta and Vijendra Singh.
ISN: Message to young sports lovers?
Prachi: Work hard and make your country proud. Success comes crawling your way.