Madurai (Tamil Nadu) [India], November 24 (ANI): Indian Deaflympian and badminton player Jerlin Anika considers ace shuttler PV Sindhu as her idol and uses the same brand of racquet that her idol used in her Olympic medal match, for her own knockout matches.
Jerlin won three gold medals in the Deaflympics 2021 held in Brazil and she is the first Indian to win three golds at an Olympic event. She is also placed at number 1 in India within the deaf category in the sport.
"PV Sindhu is my role model. I was fortunate to meet her in Hyderabad during a practice session. I wanted the same racquet that she used in her Olympics medal match. I play all my knockout matches with it," Jerlin told ANI in an exclusive interview through an interpreter.
The Deaflympian, who will be awarded Arjuna Award by President Draupadi Murmu on November 30, is happy to be honoured with the award.
Recalling her journey, the Deaflympian said that it has been a tough one for her ever since she started playing the sport at age of eight.
"I started my practice session from 5 AM in the morning till 10 AM. Then once again at noon, I had another session at 2 PM, which ends at 8 PM. These practice sessions are highly intense and I trained like this for 2-3 years. When I went to Deaflympics, I thought that other players would be much taller and fitter and would have a natural advantage over me. But I was determined to win medals for my country and I won," she added.
The shuttler recalled that getting permission for training used to be difficult but seeing her passion and committment, she was given permission to train.
"In 2009, my school introduced me to HCL foundation, which had 'Sports for Change' initiative going on. From there on, they took me to next level. I would like to thank them," she added.
On her future goals, Jerlin said that she wants to play till she is fit and her next aim is Khel Ratna Award, the biggest sports honour in India.
"I am also trying to put my best foot forward in general category by participating in ranking competitions," she added.
Her message for specially-abled people who want to take up sports is that they should not think about their limitations.
"They are a mind block. Hard work will pay off one day, I am here as an example," she added. (ANI)