Badminton
Ashwathi is the youngest badminton player to have won the Swedish National Championship held in February.
Facebook/Ashwathi Pillai

Ashwathi Pillai, originally from Kanyakumari, has been named as part of the Swedish contingent that will travel to the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics, which will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Ashwathi was born in India, and did her schooling till the 4th grade in National Public School, Bengaluru.

Ashwathi Vinodh Pillai, at the age of 17, is the youngest badminton player to have won the Swedish National Championship held in February and is also the youngest to qualify for the Swedish Elite Senior Tournaments. She was named Player of the Year in Badminton 2012-13 in Sweden.

Rated as one of the best players in Sweden for many years now, she trains at the National Center and Täby Badminton Club. Ashwathi also trains at the Prakash Padukone Academy in Bengaluru where she is coached by Prakash Padukone, Vimal Kumar and Yousaf Johari for a month every year, when she visits India.

Ashwathi has previously won the Swedish National Under 15 singles tournament and was also ranked number 1 in Women’s Singles Under 15 category. She has competed in numerous high-level tournaments such as European 8 nations, Danish Junior International, Glasgow International Junior Championship, Finnkampen in Helsinki and other Swedish national tournaments.

When asked about the most unforgettable moment in her young career, she said, “Winning my 1st national championship was the one of the best experience. It was in Kista racket center. The announcer was very energetic when he announced my name to receive the prize and he was looking at my dad. My dad had tears in his eyes. I also had a family friend of us (Dhar family) who came to support me. It was a wonderful experience.”

The upcoming Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires will commence on October 6 and will go on till the 18th of that month. The badminton event will start on the 6th and the finals will be held on October 12.

It was recently announced that Argentina and FC Barcelona football star Javier Mascherano will be the ambassador for the event.