Mumbai: Reigning world para-champion Manasi Joshi, taking inspiration from national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand, aims to create a conducive environment for para-athletes in the country after her retirement.
Manasi, who started playing badminton professionally in 2014, has been training under Gopichand for the last two years. She is determined to do her bit in changing the country’s perception on being differently-abled.
“Post badminton I want to be a part of a script that changes perception about people with disability in India. I want to make it better for future generations,” Manasi said while speaking to Indian paddler Mudit Dani on ‘In the Sportlight’ show.
“I will definitely see myself involved in sports because the experience I have gained, I want to utilise it to the fullest to develop and train young athletes. I want people to use the experience that I have gained,” she added.
Olympic medal-winning coach Gopichand has groomed and honed Manasi’s technical and tactical skills and she believes she has become a better player ever since she started working with the 46-year-old.
“He always advises to keep pushing and keep on working. And when you are out for matches or tournaments, it’s the most important advice you get from your coach. Gopi sir pays attention to even minor things and I’m learning technical tricks from the best,” Manasi said.
The 31-year-old Asian Games bronze medallist feels there has been immense growth over the last few years in para-badminton.
“Since 2015, para-badminton has picked up and even able body badminton people love it and it’s the second most favourite sport in our country. I see people choosing para-badminton as a career option. I see in the next five years, more and more people taking up para-sports. People will pursue it to the highest level,” she said.