Nikita overcomes adversity, now becomes a coach

After overcoming her accident trauma, table tennis player Nikita Kumar has now turned to coaching.

Nikita Kumar participated in the Thailand Open championship in 2013 and won a bronze medal. The next year, she represented India in the Para Asian Games in Incheon.   -  Jignesh Mistry

Little did Nikita Kumar know that her life would turn upside down on that fateful night of March 18, 2012.

All of 21, she and four of her friends were returning from a movie when their car collided against a divider, resulting in the death of one and leaving her and the other three grievously injured.

Nikita was forced to amputate her left hand. The incident left her devastated, but it also gave her time to introspect.

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Two years later, Nikita, with the support of her parents and sister (Nupur Kumar), started a table tennis academy called Ramprastha in Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh). And she is now a popular coach, who has gained the love and respect of her trainees.

Nikita is grateful to her mother Meenu Chaudhary, who is a professional sports psychologist and her sister, who is a certified International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Level I coach, for guiding her in running the academy.

The 27-year-old, who is here for the 11 Sports-West Zone National-ranking table tennis tournament — with few of her wards playing in the cadet and youth categories — said she is focused on improving the academy and making the kids better players.

“I am committed to my [coaching] job. The satisfaction you get when your wards reflect what you have taught them, that winning moment, it makes me feel happy and proud,” said Nikita. “I may not have been the best player, but surely my players are performing better."

She participated in the Thailand Open championship in 2013 and won a bronze medal. The next year, she represented India in the Para Asian Games in Incheon. Nikita had also represented Delhi in cadets and youth national championship.

Reminiscing her experience of competing in the differently-abled tournaments, Nikita said: “It was beautiful and really motivating. It brought my focus back. I was quite sure in my mind that I wanted to remain in the sport.”

According to Nikita, her first priority is coaching. “I always thought I would make a better coach. I didn’t get a perfect coach/mentor.  So I thought I can be a mentor for these kids,” she said.