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Lavanya Bahuguna


Smashing Ageism, Jaipur’s Alka Batra To Represent India At Sr. Badminton Championship’19

  • IWB Post
  •  July 29, 2019

Age is just a number, proves Alka Batra who’s in her late 40s. The entrepreneur from Jaipur, Rajasthan, who started her sports career after marriage – and who today after twelve years of hard work and having won several prizes at State and National level, is all set to represent India at the Yonex BWF World Senior Badminton Championships 2019.

Armed with a degree in Business Administration, Alka chose a completely different line of work in client relation & talent management. “I started working two decades ago as an Entrepreneur. My job is to find the right person for the right job. I guess I applied the same philosophy with myself 23 years ago when I restarted work after a long stretch,” she shares with IWB.

Not just a businesswoman, Alka became a Social Entrepreneur when in 2011 she founded the Association of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) with a vision to support other women become financially independent with the right kind of mentorship. Apart from this, the talented woman is associated with the Labor & Employment Exchange (Govt. Of Rajasthan) program as a Panelist and was also on the Governing Board National, FICCI FLO, from 2017 to 2018. This is not all. Alka also works as the Joint Secretary, Jaipur Badminton Association. Sigh, if Alka’s life isn’t inspiring enough, we wonder what is!

If like us, you too, are wondering how she manages to multitask and still finds time for her daily badminton practice? Let’s find out!

When was the first time you held badminton racquet in your hands?

I was always an active kid and enjoyed playing Table Tennis, Cricket, Volleyball, and Throw Ball at school. As my father used to spend most of his evenings at community clubs, I would often tag along to play various indoor and outdoor sports with other kids. Out of all, my favorites were Billiards and Badminton. I can proudly say that as a teenager, I truly utilized my energy to learn and enjoy new things.

What do you miss the most about those days?

It has to be the wooden frames of racquets.

Share about the tournaments that brought you to this successful stage.

I represented my school at various State Level games after showcasing my talent in inter-school championships. At 15, I was already a part of Rajasthan Badminton Team. I enjoyed my share of recognition in the Under-19 team Nation Team as well, which is before I got married and got busy with other responsibilities.

Tell us more about that sabbatical.

I got married at the age of 19. My wedding was on 21st November and on the 19th of that month, I played my last game at the National Level as a teenager. In short, I was so obsessed with my passion that I never really invested myself in any marriage preparation. Thankfully, both – my family and my husband’s – accepted me as who I was. However, after marriage, I had to go on a maternity break, which somehow got stretched to twelve long years.

How did you revive your passion?

My husband has been one of the biggest contributors to my success. To begin with, both of us started spending our evenings playing badminton in the streets of our colony. Watching us, many neighbors would join the fun, making it an everyday ritual for all of us. I’m glad that we as a couple were self-motivated and open to new things in life. This habit is paying off well today.

Did you follow any special diet when you decided to get back to the court?

I am a true Punjabi, who simply cannot enjoy her paranthas without butter on them, which is basically every morning. *laughs* I’ve never gone on a diet in my entire life and don’t even intend to. However, I eat consciously and don’t overstuff myself. Instead of saying no to food, I indulge myself in regular full-throttle workout sessions to burn those extra calories. Also, I don’t smoke or drink, which is an advantage always.

Has playing sports helped you in your career in any way?

Definitely! I think it’s a must for everyone to pick up one sport and play it regularly. I, for one, think it’s made me mentally fit and more attentive. Moreover, when you play in teams, you learn team spirit and the art of team-building. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people who are trying to chase one common target teaches you things that are essential for any job type and life overall.

You’ve been representing Rajasthan at National Level from past 8 years. How does it feel?

As a child, I had my school’s name written on my jersey. It’s now ‘Rajasthan’ that is embedded on it. I have, so far, played Singles, Women’s Doubles, and Mixed Doubles.

I feel nothing but proud of myself for never giving up or getting lost in life’s responsibilities. I took my time to reach where I am today. I strongly feel we must wait for the right time to come and do its magic. Meanwhile, we got to make efforts and take continuous actions!

Alka Batra

Very true. Tell us more about your selection at the Yonex BWF World Senior Badminton Championships 2019.

In January this year, I went to play Women’s Doubles in Goa. Before entering the court, I only had one thought in my mind – to win and thereby get the opportunity to wear the jersey with ‘India’ written on it. We won Bronze at the game and immediately after, I was selected in the National Team.

The Yonex BWF World Senior Badminton Championships is happening in Poland this year and I am playing in the senior category. Before this, I had the fortune to play Nationals & Masters Badminton (for 35+ age group) & represented our state for three years, 2013-2016.

What kind of preparation are you doing for the tournament?

I have an entire business to handle single-handedly, which usually gets the priority. However, as women – the masters of multi-tasking, we somewhere become accustomed to tackle a hundred tasks in 24 hours. As far as I’m concerned, from 9 am to 5 pm, I strictly work and attend meetings. After that, I shut myself off for any kind of work call/email. From my office, I directly go to the badminton court and play for straight two hours or so. I always find interesting people to play with.

We wish you all the best! And would love for you to leave a message for our readers.

The message is to never stop exploring yourself. It’s okay if you are stuck in any kind of life situation at the moment. Don’t crib about it. Enjoy whatever phase of life you are in and wait for the right moment to grab the opportunity you’ve been waiting for. Keep your eyes open and heart happy.

Especially married people can take my story as inspiration. Once your kids are old enough to look after themselves and their education completes, start reviving your interests. Sit down to think about the kind of activities you enjoyed during your childhood and then start afresh. There is no full stop to anything until you decide to end it.

The Yonex BWF World Senior Badminton Championships is taking place in Katowice, Poland (3-11 August 2019). Catch the action and don’t miss watching Alka Batra’s thunderous performance in the Badminton matches.

(pictures are Alka’s own)

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