I am comfortable with my identity: Manasi Joshi

Deccan Chronicle.  | Sashidhar Adivi

Sports, Badminton

Although her parents stay in Ahmedabad, Manasi relocated to Hyderabad in May 2018 to train at the Pullela Gopichand Academy.

Manasi Joshi

Even as ace shuttler P.V. Sindhu scripted history on Sunday at the BWF World Championships, para-athlete Manasi Joshi achieved a similar feat by clinching gold at the World Para-Badminton Championship in Basel, Switzerland. The 30-year-old Gujarat athlete, who has been training at the Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad, is thrilled to have earned her career-best title of ‘World Champion’.

The 30-year-old para-athlete Manasi Joshi replicated P.V. Sindhu’s historic win by clinching the gold medal at the just concluded World Para-Badminton Championship in Basel, Switzerland.

“I am overwhelmed, and just trying to settle my nerves.”

It’s very surreal being called a World Champion but I’m letting it sink in. This is the first time I have answered so many calls on my mobile. But this win is the result of many long hours of practice,” shares Manasi, adding, “I was so excited that I started sending selfies with the medal to my coaches! My parents are super happy too.”

Although her parents stay in Ahmedabad, Manasi relocated to Hyderabad in May 2018 to train at the Pullela Gopichand Academy. “Initially, I had a tough time staying alone in Hyderabad since it was a new place, and I was homesick,” recalls Manasi, who is on her way home to celebrate her big win with her parents.

The para-athlete has dedicated this historic win to her siblings. “Both of them (my brother and sister) have encouraged me all throughout, and their continuous support means a lot to me,” says Manasi, who feels that her victory is a huge win for the whole of Paralympic sports.

“People with disabilities can now actually think of making a career in sports and hopefully, more people will come forward,” she says, adding, “I am hoping that this momentum continues and we are all treated on par with other athletes. There is a sports revolution taking place and I am thankful to be a part of that transformation.”

As to whether she feels any different from the regular athletes, Manasi is the very picture of quiet confidence as she says, “I am comfortable with my identity and motivated by my own success.”

Manasi is elated over fellow shuttler P.V. Sindhu’s historic win too. “Both of us trained together at the Academy. In fact, we congratulated each other on Twitter and I met her at the Governor’s felicitation,” she shares.

Adding that Hyderabad will always hold a special place in her heart, Manasi reveals, “I have learnt a lot professionally and personally, and will always be grateful for what the city has given me.”

The Gujarat-based software engineer tragically lost one of her legs in a road accident in Mumbai in 2011. However, that did not dampen her spirit and love for badminton.

 “Why would I give up something that I started playing and enjoying as a child?” she asks with a smile.

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