The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Star Spot

Priyanka Parekh

Dancing and drawing…

Is the way it all began for this 17-year-old. And after a search for several creative outlets, including a bit of modelling, she has found her true calling — tennis. But it’s to her parents that Priyanka gives all the credit for helping her find and explore her myriad talents, from canvas to stage to clay court.

A hyperactive Virgo…

Is how the artist-turned-classical dancer-turned-national tennis champ describes herself. Kathakali, Odissi and creative dance are all part of her repertoire, which she picked up during her training at the Uday Shankar dance school, under guru Amala Shankar. Taking part in stage shows and competitions were just ways to be constructive, but the ex-student of Ashok Hall snapped up the awards and the applause, nonetheless. As she did in art competitions.

Accidental attraction…

Led to a modelling career for this Class XII student of Bhawanipur Education Society. The ramp was reached after a model co-ordinator spotted her at age 11. This pretty face could be spotted in spots for Farini cake, Khadim shoes and Eveready torch.

Sport over spotlight…

Was not a tough call for our serve-and-volley girl. Now, with the game’s most famous couple, Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi, as inspiration, she’s cruising on court, racquet and ball in hand.

Started at six…

And is going strong for over a decade. Her countless hours on court have sure paid off. After defeating the Bengal junior champ, she hasn’t looked back, grabbing under-14 and under-16 titles from Guwahati to Patna, becoming the east zone champ. Thereafter, she set off up north, conquering Chandigarh, Pune and Allahabad to name a few, earning second spot in the under-16 category.

Inter-school to international…

Is the path she travelled, representing India in World Youth Cup 2001, at Jakarta. Last year, she represented Bengal in a Hyderabad tourney, where she won the bronze. This year, she was the doubles finalist in an international tournament in the under-18 category held in Calcutta. Two national doubles titles later, she still takes time out for the inmates of Missionaries of Charity. Next year, she’s set to accept a tennis scholarship from a US university.

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