Jamia Millia Islamia MA Social Work (final year) student Munna Khalid is a rising para-badminton athlete which is for people with a range of physical disabilities.
He has impressed his seniors and coaches with his stellar performance in several tournaments. Representing Jamia Millia Islamia in 4th NCR Zonal special sports meet ‘spandan’ 2017, Munna secured first position.
“There I secured 1st position without much difficulty. I am happy and feeling proud to represent my university,” he told OT.COM.
But Munna’s journey to stardom has not been a cakewalk.
In an exclusive chat with OT.COM he shares his life story.
Hailing from a small town Khanpur in Bulandshahr and studying in Jamia since 2012, he said: “Initially I struggled to get a chance to play in hostel. Many students used to think that it won’t be worth to play with me. And at times if somebody played then it was to show sympathy towards me and I realised that they didn’t enjoy the game. But all these things didn’t discourage me. Being passionate about the game, I started watching videos of badminton on YouTube and started practicing in Bhopal Ground.
“Every day I improved a bit. With time students started noticing me after I started to give them tough competition while playing. I started to get chance to play with some good players in the hostel and in the Bhopal Ground. And this is how over a period of time I improved my playing skills. After I became confident, I decided to play outside the campus.”
It was in 2015 when Munna, who suffered polio attack when he was just six-month-old baby, got his first break to participate in the 16th open national para-badminton championship held in Chennai on September 26-27.
Though Munna lost in the quarter finals but gained a lot of confidence.
“It was then that I realised that hard work is the key to success,” he said.
That was the beginning of Munna’s career as that tournament gave him the strength to continue to chase his dream of establishing his name in para-badminton.
“After Chennai I started putting continuous effort to enhance my playing skills. I got another chance to play in 17th senior national para-badminton championship in Faridabad (Haryana) in January 16-18, 2016. There I won bronze medals in single and doubles respectively. The tournament was a tough one as I was up against several players who had played international matches,” he said.
All told, Munna strongly feel that the financial constraints and the professional guidance have always being a hindrance in achieving excellence. “The university never showed any interest in promoting me and to help me in any form. I come from a low middle class family. My family has expectations from me and they look towards me for support. I had opportunity to work in a corporate house, but I gave all these things just to fulfil my dream of becoming a para-athlete dreaming to represent India internationally and bring laurel for my country,” he said.
CAPTION: Munna Khalid with the medal (centre)