Online course helps Manasi fight for rights of disabled

Para shuttler Manasi Joshi was crowned world champion hours before P.V. Sindhu scaled the summit in Basel, Switzerland in 2019.

World para badminton champion Manasi Joshi (centre in back row) with her parents, sister and brother at her home in Ahmedabad.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT


Manasi Joshi was crowned world champion hours before champion shuttler P.V. Sindhu scaled the summit in the 2019 Worlds in Basel, Switzerland at the same venue.

Besides those memorable moments, life hasn’t really changed for Manasi. The para badminton world champion feels that people with disabilities are still treated harshly and they are suffering the most in the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2011, Manasi had met with a road accident in Mumbai which broke her arms and crushed her left leg.

“I am doing an online course on ‘Disability Awareness and Support’ with University of Pittsburgh (USA). I preferred the certification course which would enlighten me about the rights of the disabled, not just athletes all over the world,” says 30-year-old Manasi, now at home with her family in Ahmedabad.

“In the first instance, we have many privileges and rights which we are sometimes not aware of. So, it is important for us to be aware of what we actually have within the rulebook,” she feels.

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“Essentially I am trying to know what’s happening around the world as well as in India. During the course, I have also read the Rights of People with Disabilities Act 2016 by the Government of India. Importantly, I want to be aware of my rights as a woman with disability and that I can communicate more effectively.” Manasi explains.

“Well, you may say that I am more of an activist of future but for what I feel a noble cause; fight for the rights of peeople with disability and we deserve a far better deal,” she insists.

The articulate champion gently reminds with all humility, “While we are dealing with much more bigger issue, fitness and sports are a priority for me. Sports is a way of life. Though it is difficult to stay at home and be away from playing the sport, I have been through my own set of lockdown when I was in hospital for 45 days during my injury. Right now, I am working out, attending online classes, sharing my story on various platforms by going live on Instagram and Facebook, cooking, cleaning or just playing games with my family.

"The biggest challenge will be to prepare for sports once this lockdown is lifted, hopefully. We were to compete in the qualifying cycle in Spain before the COVID-19 crisis hit the world,” she said.

“The preparations will have to start all over again for the Tokyo Paralympics which are postponed for next year,” she added.

When asked about monetary rewards, a disappointed Manasi also reveals that except for prize money given by the Central Government of India she hasn’t got anything worthy for winning the world title by any other bodies.

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