Manasi Joshi was just nine when she got interested in badminton. This was in Mumbai where her father Girish Joshi worked at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) as a scientist. Growing up, she tasted success in school and district level tournaments. But Manasi’s life took a tragic turn in 2011 when she met with an accident on her way to work and had to be hospitalised for close to 50 days.
Eight years later, the 30-year-old electronics engineer won gold at the Para World Badminton championship in Basel, Switzerland, just hours before PV Sindhu clinched the world title beating Nozomi Okuhara. Manasi defeated statemate and defending champion Parul Parmar in the women’s singles SL3 final, a category that includes players who could have an impairment in one or both lower limbs and have poor walking or running balance.
“I worked really hard for this one and I am super happy that all the sweat and hard work has paid off. This is my first gold at the World Champsionships,” wrote Manasi on her Facebook page.
130 crore Indians are extremely proud of the Indian Para Badminton contingent, which has brought home 12 medals at BWF World Championships 2019.
Congratulations to the entire team, whose success is extremely gladdening and motivating. Each of these players is remarkable!
Father Girish gave details about the adversity Manasi had to overcome in the wake of the the accident in which her two-wheeler was hit by a truck. “Her left leg had to be amputated. She wore a prosthetic limb and began playing again.”
Manasi never gave up her dream and enrolled herself at the Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad.
“She had won a bronze medal at the same championships in the singles category (at Ulsan, South Korea in 2017),” her father informed.
The family hails from Rajkot. The Joshis have two girls and a son. The children have idolised their father who was himself a tennis player.
“Her first big medal was a silver in mixed doubles at the Para World Championships in England in 2015. The focus was to win a gold from the beginning of the year. So a plan was chalked out accordingly. Next year, we are targeting the Paralympics,” says younger sister Nupur.