One look at the lanky boy playing upfront for Bright Start Fellowship International School, Grant Road, in the MSSA basketball tournament at Dominic Salvio, Andheri, and you’d know that there’s something different about him. He’s surely far from your average Indian. And, on knowing his name, you’d know why. Thirteen-year-old Arash Khoshleseam is Iranian.
Having done three years of rigorous training back home in Tehran, the gulf in class between Khoshleseam and his team mates can be easily seen. “The training back home was strict and disciplined, but it made sure we reached a level we’d never expect. They see to it we get our basics right for this stage is crucial.”
Despite Khoshleseam being a cut above the rest in his team, he knows how much he needs to improve his game. “I went back home this Diwali and played with my friends there. I may be the best player here, but I was the worst there. That’s how good the kids there are,” says Khoshleseam, who is a huge fan of American rapper, Eminem.
What is even more commendable about Khoshleseam’s hard work is the fact that he is asthmatic. But he doesn’t seem to be worried one bit. “I know how important a victory is, and nothing else matters. There might be a few instances where I might not last the entire game but I’ll make every minute I spend on the court count.” Basketball has taught me the importance of focus. You need to be at the right place at the right time, and feel the moment,” says the Nepean Sea Road lad who wants to be a heart surgeon.
Khoshleseam was just the player school coach Avinash Rajiwade needed for the sport to be noticed. “This is the very first basketball team our school has and I couldn’t have asked for a better player to lead the boys. I need guys like Arash to help the kids better themselves. It may be our first outing this season, but with training and the required exposure, things can only get better.
Seeing Arash, the kids would surely want to push themselves to the next level,” says Rajiwade.