The Inspiring Story of Manasi Joshi - TIME Magazine's Next Generation Leaders
Manasi G Joshi was recently named Time Magazine's Next Generation Leader | Image credit: Twitter
Indian para-badminton star Manasi Joshi has been featured on the cover of Time Magazine's Next Generation Leader.
The 31-year-old had announced herself on the big stage last year when she won gold at the BWF Para-Badminton World Championships, beating compatriot and world no.1 Parul Parmer in the women's singles SL3(standing/lower limb impairment/minor) final.
Manasi's tryst with the sport of badminton started when she was just 6 years old, playing with her father retired scientist from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. Three years later, at a school summer camp, Joshi picked up badminton and went onto play at school and district level. After completing her graduation from KJ Somaiya College of Engineering in 2010, Joshi started working as a software engineer with Atos India. There she won a gold medal at an intra-corporate badminton tournament in 2011, but on December 2 that very year she met with an accident on her way to work when a truck hit her two-wheeler. Her left leg had to be amputated.
Joshi got a prosthetic leg after spending 45 days in hospital and three months in recovery. So good was she in badminton that in 2012, Joshi defeated able-bodied players at the same corporate tournament, barely months after she re-learnt to walk.
That is when Joshi's friend and para-badminton player Neeraj George suggested her take up the badminton professionally again.
After failing to book her place in the 2014 Para Asian Games, Joshi won silver at the national games come December and in March the next year, she took part in the Spanish Para Badminton International. Even though she did not win a medal at the meet, the exposure had given enough confidence in herself.
She doubled down on her training, balancing her work and badminton, as she woke up at 4:30 in the morning for yoga and train during lunch breaks, running to the training centre after work. In 2016, she quit her job to concentrate on her badminton career.
She moved to Hyderabad in 2018 to train at the Pullela Gopichand academy, where she worked on her game three sessions a day, six days a week.
Even before gaining the nation's attention, Joshi had been calling for Indian government to waive taxes on prostheses and other disability aids, something she was fortunate enough to get through her sponsors.
On Friday, Joshi took to Twitter to announce her featuring on Time Magazine
"The younger me would have never believed it that some day I will be on the cover of TIME and be called the next generation leader. This is so huge," Joshi said.
Truly honoured to be recognised by Time Magazine as the Next Generation Leader.The younger me would have never believed it that some day I will be on the cover of TIME and be called the next generation leader. This is so hugeOn @TIME by @AbhishyantPK photo by Kannagi Khanna pic.twitter.com/ceWa8to232— Manasi G. Joshi (@joshimanasi11) October 9, 2020
Up next for Manasi Joshi, booking a place at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.