Kavita Akula, also called as Kavi by her team mates hails from Chattisgarh. This young star has played for over 10 years and 13 different teams. She spent the last couple of years in the IMG Academy, Florida training under the best coaches.
She was the captain of the Chattisgarh junior team last year which won the gold medal at Kochi and also represented India at the Incheon Asian Games. Earlier this year, Kavita made the bold move of joining a junior college in Kansas in the the hope of one day reaching her dream of becoming a professional athlete. We took the opportunity to speak to Kavita about her personal journey and to wish her the very best in her basketball aspirations.
When was the first time you held a basketball in your hand?
I was seven years old and took to it because my brother and aunt used to play basketball.
Why did you choose basketball out of so many options?
I started playing basketball only because my family was into the sport. But once I started playing it myself I realised how interesting and fun it was. If not basketball I wouldn’t have played any other sport.
Throughout your career so far, who has been your support system?
My mother has been my biggest support throughout but along with her my coach, Mr. Rajesh Patel made me who I am today. He is the reason why I am here at the IMG Academy getting the best possible training. He guided me through all the rough patches that I faced in my career so far. It’s very difficult to find a coach like him.
How did you get selected for the IMG scholarship? How has your experience been so far?
I was 14 years old when I got into IMG. Initially it was very difficult for me to cope with the change in training styles but eventually I adjusted well. I have learnt a lot from IMG and I think I am ready for the next level.
What’s your training schedule in the Academy?
When I was in India, I used to practice six to eight hours a day. Then at IMG we had an hour’s weight training session in the morning after which we had three hours of basketball practice. We had a very busy schedule in the Academy and our coaches pushed us to give our 100% in every session.
What course are you currently pursuing?
As of now I am at the Garden City Community College in Kansas majoring in social science which is a four year long course.
What are your future plans?
I hope to make it to D1 team where I would take up Business as my academic course. Apart from that I really wish to play for some professional teams.
Do you want to switch to D1 after a year or two?
Yes, I would love to but as of now I want to make use of the time available and improve my skills so that I am ready for the next level.
Which has been your most memorable moment so far?
For me the most memorable moment was when I got selected for the Asian Games since I had never played any Junior India because I was at IMG Academy. But then I knew that there was something better in store for me.
Is coming to India on your mind or do you plan to continue with your career abroad?
I would love to play for the Indian women’s team. However, I want to complete my education here so that I can come back and help Indian basketball.
We hope that Kavita can make it to D1 and set a new standard for Indian basketball. She definitely has the potential to do so. Firstly Satnam and now Kavita may be able to bring another wave of change for Indian basketball.