UAE - Tanisha Crasto, one of the best new-generation badminton players, is the latest recipient of the UAE’s prestigious ‘Golden Visa’, an honour which is also awarded to elite athletes in recognition of their contribution to the sport.

Tanisha, 19, is one of the youngest beneficiaries to receive the official endorsement which guarantee’s her a 10-year residency in the country.

“It’s a huge honour to receive the Golden Visa because it’s not something that is given to everyone,” the Dubai-based Indian shuttler told Khaleej Times.

“It’s going to be a great help because I travel out of Dubai for a lot of tournaments and now that I have the visa I can come and go freely.

“What’s really special is that my visa lists me as a ‘professional athlete’ which is fantastic and really motivates me. Previously my visa said 'no employment.' Now that I have the Golden Visa, I will be looking to play a lot more tournaments around the world.”

Tanisha, who was born in Dubai to Indian parents from Goa and studied at the Indian High School, Dubai, thanked the Dubai Sports Council for helping her secure the much sought-after 10-year visa.

“When I approached the Dubai Sports Council officials to enquire whether I was eligible for a Golden Visa, they responded positively and, before I knew it, called to say that my request had been approved,” she said.

Tanisha, who is essentially a specialist doubles and mixed-double player, says she can now turn her attention to improving her game and pursuing her lifetime ambition.

“My dream has always been the same — to win an Olympic gold medal,” she said. “But you can say that my current goal is to win a medal at the World Championships. That’s my immediate target.”

The WBF World Championships take place in Tokyo, from August 21-28.

Tanisha, who trains under the watchful eye of former All England champion and current India coach Pullela Gopichand, explained why she essentially plays the doubles format.

“When I was younger, there were not enough players to play singles in Dubai,” she said. “So I used to play together with my Dad. Then over the years, I discovered that doubles was my calling.”

Tanisha is the first to admit that there is still a lot of improvement necessary in her game, to take it to the next level, and is prepared to work hard to achieve it.

“You never stop learning,” she acknowledges. “I believe I have so much more to learn about the game and I am confident that by training hard and with top players, I can grow my game, further.”

Tanisha joins a roll call of top sportsmen and celebrities who have been given a UAE Golden Visa including Portuguese football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, celebrated Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani and Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan.

The Golden Visa programme first began in 2019 and allows the recipient to live in the UAE for up to 10 years, which is renewable every decade.

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