I met Manasi Joshi at a Rotary conference. As luck would have it, we were together at the lunch table. By the end of the lunch, I felt weirdly connected with her. It was her undeterred zeal for life, her insanely positive attitude, her obsession for being treated normally that stayed with me, more than anything else. And I promised that if she ever needed anything, I would do what I possibly can..Not just because she is the current World #3 para-badminton champion*…but because she has the soul of a champion!
Interestingly, I got that opportunity soon enough. Manasi lost her leg in an accident in 2011, but she is not the one to lose her spirit. Currently, world # 3 para-badminton champion, she wants to get the world #1 title for India. But in order to do that, she has to leave her full-time job and fully focus on her training. I want to help her raise funds for her training for her upcoming International tournament (Spanish para-badminton International in March 2017), so that she fully equipped to get us that world #1 para-badminton champion title.
I feel glad and proud that I will be making a positive impact in the life of someone so special. And I would like to extend that opportunity to all of you. Lets help her get there, folks.
And for the curious souls, here's a glimpse of her inspiring journey so far...
Manasi met with an accident in 2011 while riding a two-wheeler on her way to work. A truck hit her and crushed her left leg. As a result, she got a prosthetic leg at the age of 22. Once an active bubbly young lady, she struggled to start walking again. But she did not give hope. She in fact, decided to re-learn badminton which she had played since childhood to keep her going.
The first match she played after the accident was a company-level badminton championship conducted by her employer Atos. And lo and behold, she came first in a regular women’s singles competition. After that, there was no looking back.
In December 2014, Manasi played her first national-level tournament and won a silver medal, losing to Arjuna awardee Parul Parmar. After that, she kept getting selected to represent India at several International para-badminton tournaments. All this, while still working full time as a software engineer only because she didn't want to become a financial burden on her family.
But as she rose in rankings, her trainings got harder and much more time-consuming. And she had no choice but to leave her job to focus solely on badminton. Since para-badminton is not yet completely supported by Indian Government, she has to also bear training and travel costs every time she plays international tournaments. This is bound to dry up her personal savings soon.
Such a hero, aspiring to get us the world #1 title should not have to struggle due to lack of funds. Don't you think?
I know her future funding needs deliberate thought. But can we not help her get past her next international tournament (@ Spain from March 5-7th, 2017) without her worrying about funds? Who knows she may bring us pride and glory by getting to the coveted World #1 ranking?! Imagine that!
It behoves us to do our little bit. If not for an individual, for India, and her athletes! And for our aspirant next generation. To assure them we are capable of producing and supporting world-class champions in achieving their true potential!
*ranking as published by the Badminton World Federation