“As much as I would delightfully show off my various trophies lined up like sentinels on my shelf, there’s a lot of effort in preserving it intact. Can you imagine how it is to live in an asbestos-roofed -1 room shack that is smaller than the size of a service box of a tennis court? That was my home.
Owing to the absence of a comfortable income I realized that I had to start working pretty soon in order to help my family. Soon, I started working as a ball boy at the age of 10 in KSLTA stadium. As days went by, my love for the game only grew stronger along with my determination to play for the country. Even a life-altering accident in 2005, did not deter my determination. Doctors were forced to amputate my leg which was followed by 6-month bed rest. During this phase, my elder brother was my pillar of strength. Time went by. At the age of 22, I discovered wheelchair Tennis. I knew the technique but I didn’t know how to move the wheelchair. Yet, I participated in a tournament in 2010, after a practice of only three days. I didn’t win that day. I didn’t give up though. The next year I participated in a National level tournament with just 2 days of practice and I won. With beaming confidence, I was sure that whether it was wheels or legs- I am good at Tennis.
After winning my first National Tournament, I felt that all my efforts resulted fruitfull when I received 50,000 rupees as prize money. Consequent wins and many tournaments later, I was ranked as the No.1 player throughout all of India and became a member of AITA. Finally, my dreams of representing India at the International level was fulfilled. I met the best wheelchair players from all over the world who taught me so many things!
Despite many hurdles and lack of support from the Government, I realized that I need to excel at this game and help create awareness about Wheelchair Tennis in our country. Thus, I took part in as many tournaments as I could. So far, I have participated in several tournaments from 2011 to 2019 and won many of them. It has been one hell of a ride!
My family whelmed with pride when they knew I played for our country. Behind the pride, there was still a tiny bit of worry lingering about how the recognition in this sport was almost negligible. As I never had a personal coach, I spent every evening at KSLTA tennis court and observed others play and now I am a coach myself to help all those kids like me. Today, my accommodation, food, my International tours are sponsored by KSLTA and Sunil Jain Sir.
Disability is not a real thing until you allow it to dictate your life.”
@HumansofHyderabad in collaboration with @Indian Wheel Chair Tennis Tour supports development of Wheelchair Tennis in India.
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