Jerlin Anika, 15, has recently won gold medal at the World Deaf Youth Badminton Championships, Taiwan. She has also bagged two silver and one bronze medal in the championship, ANI reported. “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,” said J. Jeya Ratchagan, a proud father of the badminton champion, The Hindu reported.

Jerlin hails from Madurai, Tamil Nadu, and is coached by T. Saravanan from the state. She is hearing-impaired which poses difficulties in playing badminton but she has learnt to use it to her advantage. She has been proving her mettle at earlier games and competitions, and hopes to triumph at the next challenges as well.

She won gold and two silver medals in the doubles and mixed-doubles events in the Under-18 category.

According to her father, the journey for Jerlin was not easy. “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 Ratchagan.

Saravanan 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 Saravanan.

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Jerlin has numerous medals in her name including two silver medals and a bronze at the 5th Asia Pacific Deaf Badminton Championship held in Malaysia in 2018. In the 2017 she secured the fifth place despite being the youngest player in Deaflympics held at Turkey.

“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”

“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 the mother of the hearing-impaired player. “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.

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“Similar to other players, the hearing-impaired players also represent the country. Hence, we request the State government to financially support these players,” says Ratchagan.

Jerlin is now aiming to clinch gold medal in the 2021 Deaflympics.

Feature Image Credit: Times of India

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