"Haters will hate, focus on what you are good at and prove them wrong."

This is the advise from national netball player Karishma Loganathan, 22, to youths who may have skills or interest in sports, but are discouraged from actively pursuing the field as a career of choice, by people around them.

Astro Ulagam recently spoke to the lass from Shah Alam, who has won numerous medals through her participation in various netball tournaments.

According to Karishma, she picked up netball when she was still in primary school.

"I initially took up badminton and athletics, but looking at my height, my teachers advised me to take a shot at netball," said the 175cm-tall second year student of Bachelor of Science (Human Resources Development) at Universiti Putra Malaysia in Serdang, Selangor.

What started out as a "fun" participation turned to be the sport of choice for Karishma, as she ended up representing her school in just three years.

She enrolled into the Bukit Jalil Sports School at the age of 13, and in the next few years that followed, she participated in numerous netball tournaments and won medals. She started representing the country at the age of 16 - first with the national youth team, before moving on to the senior team.

The medals include the silver in the 2015 and 2017 Asian Youth Championships, and the gold in the 2019 Asian Youth Championships. She has also won the gold and bronze medals at the Asian Championships held in 2016 and 2018, respectively.

Karishma had also participated in the last two SEA Games - first as one of the youngest players (19 years old) in the 2017 SEA Games held in Malaysia, and then 2019 tournament held in the Philippines. She was a gold medallist in both.

Shooting Through Naysayers

Karishma can be next seen in action as she represents Selangor in the Netball Super League (NSL) - a local tournament which will see eight state teams go against each other, at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara.

The matches will take place over a course of four weeks, beginning Friday, January 22, 2021. There will be 28 matches in total, comprising 24 group matches, semi-final rounds one and two, followed by a quarter final and the finals on February 14, 2021. The matches will be broadcast on Astro Arena (CH 801 & 802 HD).

According to Karishma, she is excited yet quite nervous at the same time, as this is the first time she will be playing in the NSL.

"There will be senior, experienced players in the opposing teams. Furthermore, my on-the-ground training had been very limited last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown measures," she said.

Most of her training had been through online classes or at home. She just started training on the ground last week, with just about two more weeks to go for the tournament.

Nevertheless, Karishma vows she will a hundred percent in the NSL, as she had done in all her years in the sports.

Asked about her biggest challenge thus far, Karishma said it was when her elder brother passed away from a bike accident in March 2019, just months ahead of the SEA Games.

"That incident really affected me as I had two elder siblings and I could not mentally prepare for such a major tournament following such a personal loss," she said, adding that she also skipped a training session in Sri Lanka prior to the tournament, as a result.

She perservered nonetheless, and secured the gold.

Besides personal trials, Karishma also has had her fair share of naysayers, who asked her to focus on studies instead, in order to secure a job, instead of getting involved in sports.

However, her parents were very supportive of her venture, telling her: "Do what you are good at, we are here to help you."

Family support is crucial to any upcoming athlete, she points out.

"Kids nowadays are too preoccupied with their gadgets and techonology, rather than go out there and get involved in any form of physical activity, let alone sports.

"Besides family support, the friends you keep when you are young also makes you who you are," she said.

A sound advise indeed. Here's wishing Karishma all the very best in her Netball Super League participation.

Don't forget to tune in to Astro Arena (CH 801 & 802 HD) from Jan 22 onwards to see her in action!

Photo source: Karishma Loganathan