21 July 2024

Young shuttler, Amreen dreams for a spot in Olympics

Hamilton’s teen is inspired by dad, Rupinder who plays Masters

A budding under-17 national badminton player, Hamilton’s Amreen Virk has set her eyes on representing New Zealand in Olympics.

This aspiring 16-year-old, Year-12 Rototuna Sr. High School student is now in the u19 NZ team and has represented Waikato for last 5 years.

Amreen Virk
Amreen Virk with Bronze won at Slanzenzer Cup

“Having represented my country in small events earlier, I want to take my performance to the next level and achieve my dream goal of representing New Zealand at the Olympic Games,” says Amreen.

With eyes on Olympics, but feet firmly grounded, Amreen is inching her way ahead. She is aware of the challenges, but remains upbeat.

“I realise that nothing comes to you without working for it, so I am willing to put in all the time, effort, hard work and dedication to chase my dream.”

“As Muhammad Ali said ‘Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision’,” adds Amreen.

During this year she is looking forward to participate in the Yonex Waikato International 2020 in Hamilton and hopefully, in the Junior World championship later, too.

Amreen Virk in action
Amreen in action

“I look forward to gaining plenty of experience and testing myself against some of the best athletes in the world,” Amreen says.

“It’s good to be playing at a much higher level against players from a different country to see where I stand. I want to get used to being here on the international stage,” she told NewsViews.

Amreen has just finished attending the National Camp in Napier this month and had a month’s training in Indonesia in November-December 2019.

Last year Amreen won the Singles and Mixed doubles in the Australian Sikh Games; North Island and Wellington u17 open’s girls singles and girls doubles, and girls singles winner and doubles runner up in Whanganui u17.

In 2018, her feats included the June Bevan u17 Championships NZ and Australia Bronze medal; girls singles at Central Region u17 open and B grade women’s singles at ABCD Waikato Championships,etc.

A year earlier, Amreen won her first singles title for u15 Wanganui open and girls doubles, and was a C grade women’s singles winner also.

Rupinder with daughter, Amreen
Amreen with father, Rupinder after winning Waikato Champs (All photos: Supplied)

She represents Waikato Badminton Association where she trains under Tracey Hallam, who herself won a gold medal in the women’s singles at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and also competed at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

“I would like to make my coach (Hallam) proud as well,” she says.

Waikato Badminton’s Director of Coaching, Tracey Hallam believes this budding player has potential to succeed.

“Amreen has good potential in badminton but as always there are a few things we are trying to iron out at the moment to take her to the next level,” Hallam told NewsViews in a statement, and that includes improving her “hitting technique”.

Representing the country at the world stage is a ‘tough ask’ and the challenges come from strength of other players in her age group as well.

“I think she (Amreen) would love to be in the (World Junior championships) team this year in particularly due to it being on home soil. However, that is probably the case for most of the Juniors …I believe she understands that this is a tough ask for where she is currently at, but great to have that dream goal,” explains Hallam .

“Amreen has a huge amount of determination. She is driven to improve, she takes on board information well and always gives things a go…She has good physical condition and is quite strong in this area.

“Amreen will go along way in her Badminton (career),” says Tracey Hallam.

Amreen is also fortunate to belong to a supportive family that is passionate of sports.

The parents – father, Rupinder and mum, Mandeep, have been a great source of encouragement and support to their children.

Hailing originally from Khanna (Punjab-India) Rupinder has been playing badminton for last 28 years and is also on the Board of Waikato Badminton Association. In recent years, he won the senior division while playing for Waikato; won 2 Gold’s at Masters Nationals last year, etc.

His wife, Mandeep was at one time in the Indian national women’s hockey team and in New Zealand, she played hockey for two years, participated in the QBT tournament, etc.

Amreen’s 12-years-old sibling, Aveer also plays badminton at the national level (u 15’s) and has represented Waikato since 2016.

Though Amreen played hockey in her initial years, her interest was more in badminton. And Rupinder is quick to add that there was no pressure from his side to influence her decision. His vast experience and support has seen their children blossom into ‘little champs’ what they are today.

When Amreen gets time, she enjoys watching TV, reading, listening to music and travelling.

As she inches her way to fulfill her dream to represent New Zealand in Olympics some day, for now her focus is only upon ‘training, hard work and commitment’, which she has plenty.

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