The last decade has been phenomenal for Indian badminton. The sport has grown leaps and bounds and we’ve seen stars arise. Para-Badminton has also gained momentum in this journey of badminton in the country. With impetus from the BWF, increased awareness, acceptability, and support from the government, Para-Badminton athletes have made us proud at the international stage.
Our Women Para Badminton Stars
Category- SL 3 (Standing/lower limb impairment/minor)
Former world number 1, Parul Parmar is an unsung heroine of Para Badminton. She hails from a family that was into badminton and was affected by Polio at a young age. Now aged 47, the lady with grit and grace is still going strong at the international stage. She is a two time Para Badminton world champion (2015 and 2017). In 2015, she also won the gold in the mixed doubles category with Raj Kumar at the 2015 BWF Para-Badminton World Championships. The Arjuna awardee has won various medals at the Para Asian games and has brought several laurels to the country.
Category-SL 3 (Standing/lower limb impairment/minor)
In 2019, along with PV Sindhu, para-shuttler Manasi Joshi brought home a world championship gold. It was dream come true for Joshi. She defeated an experienced compatriot Parul Parmar in straight games.
An engineer by profession, Manasi has been playing badminton since childhood as a hobby. Playing badminton professionally was not really on the cards. In 2011 she met with an accident which led the amputation of her left leg. Badminton was suggested as a rehabilitation program for Manasi. A friend suggested her to take up para- badminton professionally. She started training for the trials of Para Asian games 2014. That was where it all began for Manasi and she has scaled great heights ever since. In 2016, she quit her job to play full time. Training with Pullela Gopichand has been transformational for her. She moved to the champion making centre in 2018.
Her spirit is unbreakable and her achievements are a testimonial to her courage and hard work. Joshi is currently focussed on qualifying for the mixed doubles category of Tokyo Paralympics since the singles event is not a Paralympics event.
Also Read Happy Birthday, Manasi Joshi, The Para-Badminton Star
A 17 year old prodigy, Palak Kohli has been staying in Lucknow to train with coach Gaurav Khanna amidst the pandemic. Kohli has been continuing her practice at an outdoor makeshift court at a park near her residence in Lucknow. She has been away from her home Jalandhar in Punjab to work towards her dream and qualify for Tokyo Olympic Games.
The young girl who has a deformed left hand by birth, made her debut last year at the nationals. She won three golds in her debut.
Ranked number 5 in the women’s doubles category with Parul Parmar, she is very likely to have qualified for Tokyo Olympics. The prodigy missed her board examinations in pursuit of ranking points for qualification for the Olympics. Kohli scripted history by becoming the world’s youngest para-badminton athlete to qualify for Tokyo Paralympics. She wishes to study Physical Education and Mass Communication as an alternate career choice. Palak also wants to be a qualified umpire or referee in the future.
More power to these wonderful ladies going places and winning laurels for the country. They are an example of how nothing should stop one from chasing their dreams. One must never lose hope and focus on the positives in life. Be grateful of the life bestowed upon us and make the best out of it.
Also Read Para-Shuttler Palak Kohli dreams to win a Paralympic medal