Amidst loud applause and fervorous greetings after touchdown in India, out got here Prithvi Sekhar victorious after successful three medals in tennis on the twenty fourth Deaflympics.
A hero’s welcome meant quite a bit for Prithvi, who performed within the 2013 and 2017 editions however didn’t obtain a lot response or recognition. The 2017 Indian contingent staged a six-hour protest outdoors the airport as no authorities representatives had been current to obtain them. India had returned with 5 medals — a gold, a silver and three bronze medals.
Nonetheless, this 12 months, India recorded its finest Deaflympics efficiency with 16 medals in 11 disciplines together with eight golds, one silver and 7 bronze on the Festa da Uva Most important Pavilion, Brazil.
Prithvi teamed up with Dhananjay Dubey in males’s doubles to safe a silver medal on this Deaflympics after shedding 6(5)-7, 2-6 to Mikael Alix Laurent and Vincent Novelli of France. This was Prithvi’s second Deaflympic medal, following a blended doubles bronze with Jafreen Shaik in 2017. He mixed with Shaik to repeat the feat this 12 months. He completed the Deaflympics with three medals, together with a bronze in males’s singles.
The 28-year-old is happy along with his efficiency, however aspires to do even higher.
“I used to be new to the deaf tennis surroundings in 2013 and completed fifth. In 2017, I improved considerably and received India a bronze medal within the Deaflympics. Individuals began to recognise me after the 2017 medal, however there was nonetheless a lack of information of the match,” Prithvi says of his Deaflympics journey.
“I needed to shrug off the sensation that I’ve one thing much less and consider that I’m no much less. In the present day, I’m proud that I may steadiness sports activities and research and I’m amongst the few within the nation who’s professionally certified (B. Tech and MBA) and may compete in each particular and regular classes of tennis. I really feel I’ve come a good distance,” he says.
Whereas his Deaflympics journey started in 2013, he started enjoying tennis on the age of eight. “Since I loved sports activities, my dad and mom inspired me to take part in an effort to enhance my vanity and confidence. Cricket was my favorite sport, however I couldn’t play in a gaggle recreation (due to impairment). Consequently, I used to be launched to tennis.”
He competes within the open class of AITA, ITF with a finest rating of 15 on the nationwide stage. Underneath the hearing-impaired class, he has a world rating of 4, three, and two in singles, doubles, and blended doubles, respectively.
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Prithvi added one other feather to his cap when he was a part of the Indian Railways staff that received gold on the 2019 World Railways Tennis Championships in Albena, Bulgaria. Later that 12 months, in Turkey, he received gold in singles and bronze in doubles on the World Deaf Tennis Championships.
Basking in success: Prithvi Sekhar (second from left) with blended doubles companion Jafreen Shaik, coach Dr. Stalin Nagarajan and males’s doubles companion Dhananjay Dubey on the Festa da Uva Most important Pavilion, Brazil. – Particular Association
The lad from Chennai has three coaches to assist him win these medals: Suresh Kumar, Balaji, and Dr Stalin Nagarajan. Two of whom he has recognized for the previous 18 years (Suresh Kumar and Balaji). Whereas Suresh and Balaji put together him for AITA Open excursions, Stalin coaches him throughout worldwide Deaf Tennis competitions.
Throwing gentle on the explanation behind his three coaches, he explains, “Suresh sir and Balaji sir instruct me regarding my tennis strikes, how I can rating factors, find out how to rectify my errors and what shot ought to I be taught which shall be helpful for future matches. Alternatively, Stalin sir assists me in correcting a few of my photographs, however extra importantly, he helps me calm my thoughts once I get distracted.”
In 2018, he met Dr. Nagarajan, who was appointed chief selector for tennis from the Nationwide Sports activities Institute for the choice trials in Chennai, to assist him consider in himself.
Dr. Nagarajan proudly tells Sportstar: “Earlier than I coached Prithvi, he received only one bronze in 2017, he performed a number of tournaments after that and misplaced within the first rounds. In 2019, once I accompanied him for the World Deaf Championship, it made a giant distinction as I’m additionally a sports activities scientist and the one tennis sports activities scientist within the nation.”
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With the assistance of sports activities science and psychology, Dr Nagarajan labored with Prithvi on and off the court docket to make him a mentally sturdy participant. “Three years in the past, he (Prithvi) was not recognised within the worldwide enviornment, however after I coached and counselled him, he began to provide extra outcomes. He trusts me implicitly and by no means questions me. Prithvi, his dad and mom and I labored collectively to make this occur.”
What fascinates Dr Nagarajan is Prithvi’s means to regulate along with his respective companions, perceive their recreation and alter his recreation accordingly. “Tennis is a thoughts recreation, and he’s a thoughts participant.”
Prithvi and Dubey had been near successful gold in males’s doubles on the twenty fourth Deaflympics, however heavy rains and chilly local weather in Brazil performed spoilsport. “The second we landed there after about 30 hours of travelling, we discovered heavy rains and the temperature went all the way down to nearly 10 levels Celsius. So, the matches had been performed indoor and outside, which brought about disturbance as we weren’t used to the indoor services,” tells Dr. Nagarajan. He praised the gamers who had been in a position to win medals regardless of the climate circumstances.
Dr Nagarajan and Prithvi plan to coach overseas in worldwide academies to enhance his probabilities of successful future medals. “The teaching services right here aren’t on par with worldwide tennis academies. In worldwide academies, gamers from everywhere in the world come to achieve publicity throughout coaching. Consequently, Prithvi could have the chance to play and practice with them. This is able to assist in enhancing his normal,” he concludes.