PV Sindhu made the entire country proud with her stupendous performance at the BWF world championships final on Sunday and created history by becoming the first Indian shuttler to win a world championship. She completely destroyed her opponent Nozomi Okuhara in just 38 minutes with the score 21-7, 21-7. While the country and the media have given her all the attention she deserves, we have perhaps forgotten to focus on another victor from the same championship.
A day before Sindhu’s victory, Manasi Girishchandra Joshi won the BWF Para-Badminton World Championships. India had another world champion in Basel on Sunday when the 30-year-old Manasi Joshi, who also trains at the Gopi Chand Academy, clinched the women’s singles SL3 gold defeating World No. 1 and compatriot Parul Parmar 21-12, 21-7. This was her maiden title in the BWF Para World badminton championship.
“It feels great to be called a World champion. Never easy for any athlete and more so for someone like me who had to face adversity on all fronts to script this golden moment in my career, the competition was very tough and this is my first win against Parul, having lost in the Canadian Open recently. This time I was well prepared, having worked on my strokes, fitness and mental toughness,” said 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.
Manasi was on her way to work in Mumbai in 2011 when she met with a road accident that her left leg crushed, arms were broken and numerous other injuries. Manasi Joshi started playing badminton at the age of six. Interestingly, ever since Manasi started competing in international events from 2015, she rarely returned without a medal — the high points being silver in mixed doubles in the 2015 Worlds, bronze in 2016 women’s singles, 2017 World championship bronze and a gold in a Spanish international event.
For someone who played in her maiden ‘Nationals’ in 2014 and within five years is a World champion, Manasi says she owes it to the support staff at Gopi’s academy including coaches J. Rajendra Kumar and trainer L. Raju. She trained for two months before going for the Worlds. She was not the only one who won a medal in BWF Para-Badminton world championships; India won a total of 12 medals!
“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, It was great to be treated on par with the regular players and 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 the next Asian Games.” She said.