Manasi is in race for booking a ticket to the Games in doubles and mixed doubles
Hyderabad: Reigning para-badminton world champion Manasi Joshi is eager to make her country proud in the upcoming Paralympics which is scheduled to be held in August in Tokyo. The 31-year-old is in the race for booking the berth in both doubles and mixed doubles with partners Arati Patil and Rakesh Pandey respectively.
Manasi, who suffered an accident in 2011 and took to para-badminton, is confident of making it to the mega event which will see badminton make its debut. The athlete is also thrilled that the game will get more popularity after being inducted into the event. “I am very happy that badminton is making its debut. It gives a big boost to the game and more and more physically challenged people will take up the sport. For me it is a big deal,” she said.
However, she is a bit disappointed that there is no singles event in the Games in SL3 category in which she competes. “Yes, it is a bit disappointing. If singles would have been there, I would have assured India of a gold. I am determined to give my best and return with a medal in doubles and mixed doubles,” said Manasi who won a gold at the 2019 World Para-Badminton Championship held in Basel, Switzerland. She also has a silver (2015) and bronze (2017) from the event.
The athlete said the ongoing pandemic has disrupted their training. “Both my partners Arati Patil (Maharashtra) and Rakesh Pandey (Haryana) are training in their respective cities and I am training in Hyderabad. We could not train together because of lack of funds and also the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But we are in constant touch speaking over the phone and discussing what sort of training we have to undergo. We have a good understanding and have been playing together for almost two years. We are focusing on communication skills which are important in doubles. We make sure that we are on the same page and communicate constantly.” Manasi and Arati are placed at 13th in the doubles while in the mixed doubles, Manasi and Rakesh are at No.15.
On athletes from other countries who have been training, she said, “Of course they have advantage. They have been training as the situation is better in their countries. But we also know that Indians are more resilient and better at picking things fast and adjusting to situations.”
She is in good form as she recently won a silver in singles and a bronze in doubles with Arati Patil at the Dubai Para-Badminton International in April. She also said that life after winning the world championship in 2019 changed. “A lot of things happened. Last year I was listed as TIME Next Generation Leader, a Barbie that has been modelled after me. I was the BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year (2019), BBC 100 Women (2020). I was also in Forbes India, Self-made Women of 2020. I was also awarded the Differently-abled Athlete of the Year. I have been using my voice to speak about the issues we face in our day-to-day life,” she added.
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