India’s para-sports hero Manasi Joshi will be making an appearance on this Friday’s episode of Kaun Banega Crorepati season 11. The episode, which also marks the 77th birthday of host Amitabh Bachchan, will see her teaming up with Paralympic silver medalist Deepa Malik.
Manasi is a para-badminton player who is currently ranked World No. 2 in SL3 Women’s Singles. The 30-year-old recently won the gold medal at the 2019 BWF Para-Badminton World Championships, thus adding to her silver and bronze World Championship medals.
“I had an enriching experience during the show…Bachchan sir has his own charm, he can speak to an 80-year-old or a 10-year-old with the same ease. So, he can gel with anyone,” she said before adding, “I was there with Deepa ma’am. Personally, I enjoyed throughout and I am sure that Deepa ma’am also had a great experience.”
When Manasi took up badminton at the age of six, she never dreamt of being a world champion one day. She would only play the sport as a hobby and went on to pursue electronics engineering instead which got her a job in an IT company. However, come December 2011, her life would change completely.
A freak accident would set her onto the path of success in badminton. Manasi was on her way to work on a busy Mumbai street when tragedy struck and she was hit by a car. The accident meant that she had to have her left leg amputated, thus rendering her disabled for the rest of her life.
It was at this time when Neeraj George, a badminton player and Facebook friend of Manasi, put the thought of taking badminton seriously in her head. She started playing corporate tournaments and winning titles, people started appreciating her which gave her confidence.
Then she won silver in a 2014 National-level tournament and was recommended for her first international event in Spain. After that, Manasi did not look back.
In 2018, a chance meeting with chief national coach Pullela Gopichand was a game-changer which set her on course to her maiden World Championship gold.
On being asked how she felt when she was invited as a special guest to KBC, Manasi replied, “I have been watching KBC since 2000 or 2001 when it started and I have followed it every season. Even if it wasn’t on at our home, I could hear Bachchan sir’s voice (speaking on the show) echoing from our neighbours’ houses. The show was that popular, you know.”
The star shuttler, however, refused to reveal how many answers she and Deepa got right during the show. “(Laughs) To know that, you will have to watch the episode. I am not going to reveal it now,” she signed off.