IN APRIL this year, when 20-year-old Parul Gupta, a hearing-impaired tennis player from Patiala, was not named in the Indian team for Deaflympics 2017 despite being among the top three players in the country, Parul and her father approached the Delhi High Court. After a month-long legal fight, Gupta was called up for re-trials at Delhi and the Punjab National Bank player has now been training in the national camp since June 8 and will represent India in the tennis event in the Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey, from July 18.
“We were disappointed after Parul was not selected for the Indian team in April despite Tobiaz Burz, co-chairman of ICSD Technical Committee, saying that a country can field six players for the team. We decided to approach Delhi High Court on May 30 and the court directed the All India Sports Council of Deaf (AISCD) to conduct fresh trials and Parul came third. It has been a long wait for us but we are happy that Parul will finally represent India in Deaflympics,” said Parul’s father Avinash Gupta, a biochemist in Punjab State Power Corporation in Patiala.
Parul will travel to Turkey on July 16. She has been training at the RK Khanna Stadium in New Delhi under SAI coach Chander Bhushan and the youngster is excited about donning India colours. “My father bought me four new racquets for the trials. To take part in re-trails was mentally tough for me as it made me feel like I was fighting for my chance. But I only thought about getting the Indian blazer for the Deaflympics,” Parul said.
Hearing-impaired since birth, Parul started playing tennis in 2001 at Yadavindra Public School, where her mother Madhu Gupta teaches and played initially in the general category where she won the silver medal in U-17 National School Games in 2011. After winning a gold medal in nationals for deaf held in Auragabad in 2013, Parul claimed a silver medal in the doubles category in Youth Tennis Cup held in Germany in 2014.
Last year, Parul, who works as computer operator with PNB, Patiala, won the gold medal in doubles category with Sheikh in Slovenia Deaf Open before winning bronze in this year’s national Deaf Games in Kerala in March.