Para World Badminton: Manasi secures maiden gold, says being world champion 'feels great'

Manasi Joshi clinched the gold in women’s singles SL3 final of the Para World Badminton Championship, defeating world No. 1 and compatriot Parul Parmar 21-12, 21-7 to pick her maiden title.

Manasi Joshi with the gold medal after winning the Para World Badminton Championships.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

India had a world champion in Basel (Switzerland) even before the whole nation trained its attention on champion shuttler, P.V. Sindhu, taking on Japanese Nozomi Okuhara in the women’s singles final on Sunday.

For, 30-year-old Manasi Joshi, who incidentally is another trainee at Gopi Chand Academy, clinched the gold in women’s singles SL3 final defeating World No. 1 and compatriot Parul Parmar 21-12, 21-7 to pick her maiden title in Para World badminton championship at the same venue where the big guns like Sindhu, Kento Momota are all in action.

“It feels great to be called a world champion. Never easy for any athlete and more so for someone like me who has to face adversity on all fronts to script this golden moment in my career,” says Manasi in an exclusive chat with Sportstar from Basel on Sunday.

“The competition was very tough and this is my first win against Parul having lost recently in the Canadian Open. But, this time, I  was well-prepared working on my strokes, fitness and being mentally more tough,” says Manasi, who became a champion in her third appearance in the Worlds (she won a bronze in 2017).

“It was a terrific experience to play at the same venue, share corridors with the other badminton greats. It makes you feel that you are there with the elite,” she said.

Read: Sai Praneeth settles for bronze at Worlds

What was Gopi’s advice to you? “To stay calm, play clear strokes and just be focussed not thinking what happened or what is going to happen,” recalls Manasi, employed with BPCL and also supported by Malcolm and Welspun Group.

In 2011, Manasi, who was on her way to work in Mumbai, met with a road accident which saw her left leg crushed, arms broken and numerous other injuries.

But, that tragedy didn’t deter her from confining herself to indoors but preferred to choose badminton to send a message to the world - that it is not the end of the world with these kind of setbacks for anyone.

For someone who played in her maiden Nationals in 2014  and within five years is now a World champion, Manasi says she owes it to the complete team of support staff at Gopi Chand Academy including coaches J. Rajendra Kumar, trainer L. Raju where she trained for two months before going for the championship.

“I am grateful to Gopi Sir for being there for all the matches in the Worlds except for the final since it was an all-Indian affair,” says the spirited champion.

“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,” signed off Manasi.

India's medal review

WS SL3 final : Manasi Joshi - Gold, Parul Parmar - Silver

MS SL3 : Pramod Bhagat into finals, Manoj Sarkar - Bronze

MS SL4 : Tarun into final, Sukant Kadam - Bronze

MS SS6 : Krishna Nagar - Bronze

MD SL3-SL4 : Pramod Bhagat and Manoj sarkar - Gold, Nitesh Kumar and Tarun - Silver, Vikram Umesh- Bronze

MD SU5 : Rajkumar and Rakesh Pandey - Bronze

MD SS6 : Raja Maghotra and Krishna Nagar - Silver.