Manasi Joshi: Journey so far has been a discovery of inner-self

The winner of the para-badminton World championship gold medal talks about the individual she draws inspiration from, her next goal and the shortcomings faced by people with permanent disabilities.

Manasi Joshi lost her left leg in an accident in 2011.   -  Twitter @joshimanasi11

The para-badminton World championship gold speaks about the fruition of a journey of learning about inner-self and of how the human body adapts to challenges, says the champion Manasi Joshi. The Mumbai resident, who picked up the singles gold in SL3 category final in Basel last month, says the World title is giving her the confidence to qualify and try for a medal in the mixed doubles category of Tokyo Paralympic Games next year.

“So long it has been a journey of learning about the inner self and how human body can adapt to different situations it encounters and how we can push ourselves for the betterment of self and society,” Manasi said, on the sidelines of the Kolkata leg of Pro Kabaddi League.

An engineer by profession, Manasi says badminton has given a new meaning to her life. “I never thought I will progress in the field of sports. I got into it for my personal growth and it took me to a level where I am representing my country now,” says the 30-year-old champion, who lost her left leg in an accident in 2011.

READ | Manasi's trainer explains his role in gold-medal triumph

Asked about her next goal, she says it is to qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics. “This is a Paralympics year and I have six tournaments to secure the qualification. I have won a singles gold in the World Championship but unfortunately my singles event is not a Paralympics event so, I am focusing on mixed-doubles for Tokyo (with partner Rakesh Pandey), she said.

Para-badminton player Manasi Joshi poses for pictures after winning her first World Championships in the women’s singles SL3 finals at Basel 2019 Championships. PHOTO: PTI


“Our current ranking in the world is 13 and we need to be in the top-six to make it to Tokyo. It is a difficult task as the competition in this level is really stiff. We are working hard as a team and hopefully will make the grade,” Manasi, who already has a World para-badminton silver from 2015, said about her chances.

The player says that she drew the motivation of fighting all odds from her scientist father, Girish, who inspired her with his relentless quest for knowledge. “My father has been the greatest inspirational figure my life. I always saw him studying and learning new things even when he was about to retire. His relentless pursuit for knowledge gave me the motivation to excel,” Manasi said. “I love reading books, both fiction and non-fiction, and I also draw my inspiration from the different characters that I come across while reading,” she added.

Manasi says that the biggest shortcoming of the welfare policies in the country is that ‘safety of life’ does not get a priority in the laws or the policies of the Government. “In our country everything is loaded against people with permanent disabilities. Despite paying hefty premiums, the Insurance companies just cut their contribution to half if you have a permanent disability. In many countries around the world there is insurance for prosthetics and our government should think about people like us,” she tries to draw the attention of the Government.

READ | Manasi secures maiden gold, says being world champion 'feels great'

“The roads in our country are very unsafe and the number of people like me is growing every day. No one realises how difficult our lives become when you get disability after an accident. Safety of life is not a priority in the laws or the policies of the government. We in the amputee community can hardly get our voices through to the people in the Government and as a result are deprived of the quality of life we deserve.”

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