Monica Manohar is a trailblazer

By present day standards, Monica Manohar is a late starter, the enthusiastic southpaw taking to table tennis only when in class eight. She sort of stumbled on the sport after her mother met champion paddler Nikhat Banu’s aunt.

Born to parents with strong links to sports, her father Manohar a former footballer and mother Kavita, an ex-athlete, it didn’t take long for the Kendriya Vidyalaya, Bolarum student to make the most of their encouragement. Gujarati Seva Mandal (GSM) Academy coach Maduri Venugopal had little doubt that Monica held out promise and promptly took her under his wing.

Going for coaching meant she had to commute about 30 kms a day, but the sprightly lass was hardly deterred. No signs of fatigue or travel weariness showed when she got her palm around the racquet grip.

Sure enough, Monica’s rise was rapid. Starting with a gold medal in the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) Nationals, she doubled the tally in the Kendriya Vidyalaya Nationals at Pune, claiming the coveted medal in both individual and team categories.

She did even better when she won two state championship titles, her second crown coming at the recent Anantapur state ranking tournament. The first she had won at the Anandnagar Welfare Sports Association (AWSA) championship last year.

That the first year CEC student has potential for excellence became evident when German table tennis equipment manufacturer Tibhar sprang a pleasant surprise on her with a kit sponsorship. Her growth in the game has been helped along by her physical fitness monitored by Dr. Bakthiar Choudhary and her mental training mentor Bharath Singh. While maintaining a first class average in studies, she enjoys swimming and painting animals too.