Manasi Joshi eyes 2020 Paralympics

Para shuttler Manasi, who clinched bronze in women’s singles last week in the Para Asian Games, trains at the Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad.

Para shuttler Manasi Joshi with her Asiad bronze medal.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

For 29-year-old Manasi Joshi, it was a moment of triumph over adversity when she clinched a bronze in women’s singles (SL3) last week in the Para Asian Games in Jakarta.

“Given the fact that I was making my debut, it was a heartening performance though I was certainly targetting a different colour of the medal,” says the smiling shuttler, who lost her left leg in a road accident in Mumbai in December 2011, on return from the Asiad with a difference.

“Incidentally, it was also the first time that I was taking part in a multi-discipline championship like Asian Games and it has been a truly memorable experience sharing the problems, the challenges like access to training facilities and finding ways to be better athletes with others with similar disabilities,” she adds.

For someone who rarely returned without a medal in any international event ever since she started competing in the 2015 Worlds (mixed doubles silver), 2016 Worlds (singles bronze) and 2017 Worlds (singles bronze), Manasi is grateful to chief national coach P. Gopichand for all the support and being so understanding about the needs of specially challenged athletes.

“I must say I have been training at one of the best academies in the world (Gopichand Badminton Academy) where all the champions like Saina, Sindhu, Srikanth, train. A venue which clearly motivates to dream bigger,” Manasi explains.

What she needs now to be a better player? “I realised that I have to make some changes to prosthesis. I will work on that and thankfully I have two sponsors — Welspun and Mallcom — who are taking care of my travel and stay expenses on the circuit,” says the spirited shuttler.

“With one dream realised in Asiad, now my focus will be to win the gold in the 2020 Paralympics. Next year will be the qualifying year for the Games and I will try to keep improving with each event starting from next month’s Australian Open,” signs off Manasi while dedicating the bronze to her sister, Nupur Joshi (into sports business), for being a constant source of encouragement.