Indian para athletes have been making the headlines lately.
Weeks after an unprecedented nine Para athletes were honoured with the National Sports Awards 2020, para shuttler Manasi Joshi has now made every Indian proud becoming the first ever Para athlete to have featured in TIME magazine as Next Generation Leader.
She is also the first Indian para-athlete to have a Barbie doll modelled to her likeness announced on the occasion of the International Day of Girl Child. Joshi joined the likes of Australian Paralympic medallist wheelchair para athlete Madison De Rozario and Para Swimming champion Sumeyye Boyaci among many others, in celebration of extraordinary women who inspire girls around the world to be anything they dream to be.
The only other Indian to have received this laurel is gymnast Dipa Karmakar in 2019.
Extremely delighted with Manasi’s latest recognitions, Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) President Deepa Malik said these honours will give a great boost to the Indian Paralympic Movement.
“We need role models like Manasi to inspire the next generation and new talent pool of Para athletes in India. In fact not just para athletes, but especially the women and young girls in India who can identify with her story, her success, her determination, her grit and her never give up attitude," praised Malik.
“It’s like a celebration of the success and recognition of Parasport as mainstream in India. Paralympics in India is a new thing. Now athletes are getting their due; they are getting the respect they deserve and their medals are being celebrated. I am very happy for Manasi and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”
Malik believes the honour will also add Joshi’s responsibility as a role model to many aspiring para athletes in the country. Joshi clinched the World Championships title defeating compatriot Parul Parmer in Basel last summer.
“She has to now continue to be consistent and show perseverance in her performance.”
“The new-found Paralympic Committee is working very hard to ensure that there’s an athlete-centric growth of Parasport and that athletes are celebrated where their journeys are spoken about. We are very happy this TIME Cover shows the intention of the PCI which is athlete centric,” the Rio 2016 Paralympic silver medallist said.
Malik concluded saying that the TIME cover featuring Joshi coming out on International Day of Girl child is definitely going to inspire a lot of girls to empower themselves and rise above their disability through sports.
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