"I earned it. Worked every bit for it," tweeted Manasi, who was among the 12 Indian athletes who won medals at the competition.

Para Badminton star Manasi Joshi clinches gold for India at World Championships
news Sports Wednesday, August 28, 2019 - 14:33

Badminton star PV Sindhu has been the talk of the town for clinching a gold at the World Championships final on Sunday, beating Nozomi Okuhara. However, that’s not the only reason for Indians to celebrate. Para badminton star Manasi Joshi also created history by securing a gold at the World Championships, just a day before Sindhu.

It was a dream come true moment for Manasi, when she emerged victorious against experienced compatriot Parul Parmer in the women’s singles SL3 final on Saturday.

"I earned it. Worked every bit for it," tweeted Manasi, who was among the 12 Indian athletes who won medals at the competition. She also congratulated PV Sindhu on her win. 

Having faced three-time world champion Parmer several times this year and always finishing on the losing side, Manasi wasn't the favourite going into the final. However, she beat the odds by keeping her calm and by unleashing some sharp strokes to defeat Parmer 21-12, 21-7 for the first time in her career.

Manasi made a slow start and was even 2-7 down in the opening game, but raced ahead owing to better fitness. In the second game, she was ahead from the start and went on to pick up nine consecutive points en route the gold.

An elated Manasi later admitted that her strenuous training at the Pullela Gopichand Academy recently did wonders to her campaign.

"I have trained extremely hard...training three sessions a day. The focus was on my fitness, so I also lost some weight and gained more muscle. I spent more time in the gym, working six sessions a week. I also put a lot of effort to improve my strokes and played practice matches every day at the Academy. I believe the improvements are already showing," the 30-year-old told the Paralympic Committee of India.

"I've been playing para badminton since 2015. Winning medal at the worlds is always a dream come true," she said.

Manasi added that she now has a new walking prosthesis socket. "The old one which I was using for the last five years was making me slow during workouts."

Manasi, who had looked up to German tennis legend Steffi Graf growing up, now wants to "play more singles matches at other events, including the Asian Championships".

"I hope our event is included as para sports in the next edition of Paralympic Games," she said.

Praising her improved show, India coach Gaurav Khanna said that it's the beginning of a new era.

"Parul (Parmer) was leading the show for many years. No doubt she plays with a lot of zeal, determination and willpower, but she is 46 years old and that makes a difference when you are up against a younger player. 

"I am sure she will make a comeback. Having said that, Manasi (Joshi) has improved over the years. And she is much more mature as a player now. I am very happy for her. She produced a splendid performance," Gaurav told PCI.

An engineer by qualification, Manasi completed her graduation in Electronics Engineering from K. J. Somaiya College of Engineering, University of Mumbai in 2010. In 2011, she met with a road accident and lost her left leg. However, that did not stop her from playing badminton and she went on to win many medals for India.

In September 2015, she won silver in mixed doubles at the Para-Badminton World Championship held in Stoke Mandeville, England. In October 2018, Manasi won a bronze medal at the Asian Para Games held in Jakarta, Indonesia. 

(IANS inputs)

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