Just hours before PV Sindhu clinched the Word Champion title, another shuttler Manasi Nayana Joshi quietly clinched the gold medal in the women’s singles SL3 final of the Para World Badminton Championship in Basel, Switzerland. Manasi defeated World No. 1 and compatriot Parul Parmar -21-12, 21-7 to pick her maiden title. The SL3 finals is a category in the Para World Badminton Championship that includes players who could have an impairment in one or both lower limbs and have poor walking or running balance
After clinching the title Manasi in her Facebook account wrote -“I worked really hard for this one and I am super happy that all the sweat and hard work has paid off. This is my first gold at the World Championships,”.
Like PV Sindhu, Manasi has also trained in the Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad and is an inspiration for other sportspersons with disabilities.
Manasi (30) who is an electronics engineer by qualification, overcame many hurdles to win this coveted title. Talking about her story and achievements, her father Girish Joshi, who is a scientist with Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in Mumbai said that Manasi developed interest in badminton at a very young age. She won many tournaments in school and at the district level. Interestingly her father who originally hails from Rajkot in Rajasthan is also a sportsman and a tennis player himself.
Manasi completed her graduation in Electronics Engineering from K. J. Somaiya College of Engineering, University of Mumbai in 2010. A BPCL employee, Manasi's life took a tragic turn in 2011 when she met with an accident on her way to work. Her leg was completely crushed under the truck, which had to be amputated. She suffered fractures to both her arms and was in the hospital for more than fifty days.
However, the tragedy did not deter her from confining herself to her home and with a lot support from her family ,she came back strong, got herself a prosthetic limb and began playing again. Manasi enrolled herself at the Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad. She was trained under the watchful eye of coach J. Rajendra Kumar and trainer L. Raju for more than two months, before going for the championship.
For someone who played in her maiden Nationals in 2014. In September 2015, she won silver in mixed doubles at the Para-Badminton World Championship held in Stoke Mandeville, England. Manasi won a bronze medal at the same championships in the singles category at Ulsan, South Korea in 2017. In October 2018, Manasi won a bronze medal at the Asian Para Games held in Jakarta, Indonesia and within five years she won her maiden World champion in 2019.
In an interview with SportsStar magazine, Manasi said she was grateful to Gopi Sir and credited her win to the team of support staff at Gopichand Academy and her coaches. When asked about Gopi’s advice to her , she said that he had asked her to stay calm, play clear strokes and just be focussed not thinking what happened or what is going to happen, recalled Manasi.
“I hope life will change, after having sacrificed everything for this golden moment, in terms of better recognition and support, especially like getting world class equipment to chase my dream of winning a gold in Paralympics and next Asian Games,” she said. Malcolm and Welspun Group supported Manasi for this event. With this gold medal in hand, her next target is to win the Summer Paralympics in 2020 at Tokyo, Japan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday congratulated the Indian para badminton team which won 12 medals at the BWF World Championship, saying their performance is motivating. India finished with 12 medals, including three gold at the championship.
"130 crore Indians are extremely proud of the Indian Para Badminton contingent ... Congratulations to the entire team, whose success is extremely gladdening and motivating. Each of these players is remarkable," the prime minister wrote on Twitter.
Amending the policy for para-athletes to make them eligible for more cash awards, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday handed over Rs 1.82 crore to the medallists of the Para-badminton World Championship. While the gold medal winners took home Rs 20 lakh, the silver medallists were given 14 lakh and bronze winners Rs 8 lakh each.
Meanwhile, Twitter was all praise for the 30-year-old.
TRS Working President KT Rama Rao conveyed his wishes to Manasi on winning the gold for India.
"In the high of PV Sindhu getting gold in the World Championship, we forgot to win Manasi Joshi, who gold in World Para-Badminton Championship. Here it is wishing her," Kiran Bedi, Governor of Puducherry tweeted.
"Every daughter of India is special. You have increased honour of the country on the world stage. Many congratulations to you for winning gold at the Para-Badminton World Championship," tweeted former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. "Everyone should learn from you how to overcome the difficulties and achieve success. Hats off to your courage. The country is proud of you!" he added