Her success is not an easy journey

J. Jerlin Anika with the gold medal she won in the second World Deaf Youth Badminton Championship in Taipei.   | Photo Credit: G_Moorthy


“When my eight-year-old daughter started showing a liking towards badminton, I thought the sport will distract her from her hearing impairment. I never thought that she would reach this level,” says J. Jeya Ratchagan, a proud father of an international badminton champion.

J. Jerlin Anika, the 15-year-old badminton player from Madurai, bagged a gold medal in the second World Deaf Youth Badminton Championship held in Taipei recently.

She also won laurels to the country by winning two silver medals in the doubles and mixed-doubles events in the Under-18 category.

It has not been an easy journey for Jerlin, says her father. “Initially when she started playing for the normal category, she lost a considerable number of matches. The umpire would shout out the points and Jerlin would not be aware of it,” says Mr. Jeya Ratchagan.

Jerlin’s coach, T. Saravanan, then started teaching Jerlin through drawings on a slate. “During the intervals between the match, I would draw a model of the badminton court and explain her mistakes. Through continuous practice, now Jerlin remembers the scores and does not cast a glance at the umpire throughout the game,” says Mr. Saravanan.

Jerlin had won two silver medals and a bronze at the 5th Asia Pacific Deaf Badminton Championship held in Malaysia in 2018. In the 2017 Deaflympics held at Turkey, Jerlin secured the fifth place despite being the youngest player, says Mr. Saravanan.

With the bustle of everyday life, there is just enough time to catch up on her sleep, gestures Jerlin. She practices for at least eight hours a day, says her mother, J. Leema Rosaline.

“Whenever she loses a crucial match, she breaks down after the match. Once she is settled, she focuses on the next match and works hard,” adds her mother.

As a hearing impaired player, Jerlin had a disadvantage of reaction time to the shuttle, says her coach. “Normal players would be able to judge the speed of a shot through the sound the shuttle makes when it hits the racket. But, Jerlin had used it to her advantage by not getting distracted to other noises,” adds her coach.

Mr. Jeya Ratchagan says that the hearing impaired players are not duly recognised by the State government. “Similar to other players, the hearing impaired players also represent the country. Hence, we request the State government to financially support these players,” says Mr. Jeya Ratchagan.

Despite her achievements, a few family members do not approve of her playing the sport, says her mother. “But I am confident that through this, my daughter will have a secure future and be independent,” she adds.

The next step aim is to clinch gold medal in the 2021 Deaflympics, gestures a confident Jerlin.

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Printable version | Jun 8, 2021 8:32:08 PM |

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