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It takes a special kind of bold to sit up and fight back when all circumstances seem to be resolutely stacked against you. At the recent Australian Para Badminton International, Indian para-shuttlers were responsible, one way or the other, for six medals. But none of them stood out more than Manasi Joshi’s Gold medal in the Women’s Singles SL 3 category did. To fully appreciate the magnitude of the achievements, it is important to acquaint ourselves with the events leading up to the tournament.
6 medals for India again in Australia Para Badminton international concluded today.
Pramod and Manasi got gold in Singles event..Promod continues his GOLD Trip
Eagerly waiting for next revised world ranking….
Hope he would again WORLD NO 1. World no. 2 also from India. pic.twitter.com/LNuNJaejfi
— GAURAV KHANNA (@GauravParaCoach) November 25, 2018
A few days before she played her first match in the tournament in question, Manasi Joshi took to Twitter to address an airline regarding a lost prosthetic leg that was misplaced on the flight. Over the next few days, the saga of the missing possessions continued as she was forced to play match after match in old prosthetics.
My sports prosthetic leg & my assistive device i.e. crutches have been misplaced in th transit 4m Hyderabad to Melbourne via Singapore.
Request you to please find it & deliver it to me asap. I was supposed to get an email from the airport regarding this but havent
— Manasi Nayana Joshi (@joshimanasi11) November 20, 2018
What stood out from the entire incident was the fact that, initially, the airline in question seemed to be uncooperative around the entire issue. At one point, the very circumstance of actually playing the matches in the tournament seemed to be in dire doubt. Mixed Doubles were played completely dependant on Joshi’s partner Sukant Kadam as the tournament ticked on.
All I reach is a voicemail of the baggage claims of the airport with no reply to my calls. When I reach airlines helpline, I get email ids and no reply to my mails.
I need my prosthetic leg. Please.
— Manasi Nayana Joshi (@joshimanasi11) November 21, 2018
Thankfully, the ordeal did not last the entire tournament. Thanks to an aggressive social media campaign spearheaded by the near and dear ones of Manasi Joshi, a couple of matches down the line, Singapore Airlines not only located the missing baggage but also made sure that it had reached its rightful owner so the remainder of the games could be fought out in peace.
“I got my sports prosthesis delivered to the venue today in the afternoon,” Manasi wrote on November 23. “Played 5 matches in my old prosthesis though and realized that the loose socket needs to be discarded asap.”
Special shout out to Priya Bissa from Singapore Lost and Found @ChangiAirport for tracing my prosthesis and making sure it is loaded in the next flight to Melbourne with minimal information she had from my sister's facebook post.
— Manasi Nayana Joshi (@joshimanasi11) November 23, 2018
“Glad to be on the winning side.”
International victories are sweeter especially if one needs to compete tough odds to achieve it. Manasi agrees. While speaking to The Bridge immediately after the completion of her matches, Manasi’s elation at the Gold medal was quite evident.
“I’m so glad to be on the winning side,” she said. “I mean right from visa to losing prosthetic and playing in old walking leg. It was very challenging right from the start.”
This Gold medal caps off a great year for Manasi Joshi who had earlier won the Women’s Singles Bronze at the Asian Para Games held in Indonesia in October. But, as she mentions, even that victory was not devoid of challenges.
“The Australian Parabadminton International was still an okay tournament for me in terms of the challenges I faced,” she said. “The toughest tournament this year has to be the Asian Games.”
“I went through a personal low, and almost hit rock bottom in Indonesia, this (Australia) was still okay compared to that,” she added.
Manasi Joshi has proved herself to be a fighter. So, what does 2019 look for India’s ace para shuttler?
“We enter 2019 with new aims as this year we will see the new ranking system for qualification to the 2020 Paralympics,” she says “We have World Championship in Switzerland in August.”