Theweekendleader

Inspiring journey of a young girl from a road accident victim to the cover of TIME magazine

15-October-2020

Vol 11 | Issue 42

When Manasi Joshi, a software engineer, met with an accident in 2011 at the age of 22 while riding her two-wheeler, she might have never thought she would end up as an amputee.

But when doctors took the decision a few days later to amputate her leg (above the knee) that had developed gangrene, she took that in her stride and went on to become one of India’s star para-badminton players.
Joshi started walking again a few months later with the help of a prosthetic leg and returned to playing her favourite childhood sport badminton.

Manasi Joshi won the world championships in Basel last year (Photos courtesy: Twitter/ Manasi Joshi) 

Today, India's para-badminton ace Joshi continues to inspire fellow para-athletes around the world. From setting examples to breaking stereotypes, Joshi has been a trailblazer ever since she took up the sport.

She grabbed headlines last year by winning the World Championships in Basel, beating compatriot and world number one Parul Parmar in the women's singles SL3 final.

Recently, The TIME magazine featured Joshi as the 'Next Generation Leader', a first for a para-athlete. The occasion soon turned into a double delight as the star shuttler got a one-of-a-kind Barbie doll modelled to her likeness on the occasion of International Day of Girl Child on October 11.

"I am glad I got a voice because of my sport. I have been fortunate enough to use this voice to raise awareness about prosthetics, road safety, disability and inclusion. To me, I am honoured beyond measure to be a part of TIME 2020 Next Generation Leaders and also to make it to the cover of TIME Asia," said Joshi as per a media release shared by Paralympic Committee of India (PCI).

"I personally think that seeing a disabled athlete on the cover of TIME will change a lot of perceptions surrounding disability and para-sports in India as well as Asia," said the world number two, who lost her left leg in a road accident, having been hit by a truck.

With accomplishments comes responsibilities and the 31-year-old acknowledges that she would need to handle it with care and use her time and energy for the betterment of self and society.

"I hope that I keep inspiring the upcoming generation with my achievements. I think I will keep on playing my sport and speaking up about the importance of inclusion and diversity on various forums.

"To be the first para-athlete to be recognised in this list as an advocate of rights for persons with disability in India feels like a great achievement. I am glad to be able to contribute to the paralympic movement in India through my sport and voice it is providing me," said Joshi.

She also emphasised that hard work, ambition and perseverance are the most important things which a person requires in order to be successful.

"My message to young girls will be 'Do not listen to anyone who says that you can't do something. You have to dream and give it all, because dreams do come true'," said Joshi. – TWL Bureau with IANS


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