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Surviving with support of 98 rods and 148 screws: Story of Baishakhi Deb, resilient face of Indian para-athletes


By Arnab Mitra

A terrible accident in 2006 changed the life of a former national badminton champion, Baishakhi Deb. Baishakhi, with her fiancé Kaushik Pandey and her employee Sreetilekha Ghosh, was on her way to the office on the early morning of 27th August, 2006, when the accident happened in front of ITC Sonar Bangla. It took the life of Kaushik and Sreetilekha, and Baishakhi’s body was cleft into pieces.

Baishakhi started her journey on a high note and was crowned ‘sub-junior’ national champion at the age of 13. But this was before she met with an accident.

In an interaction with NewsGram, Baishakhi told that she lost her leg in the accident and her bone was totally fractured. She is now surviving with the support of 98 rods, 148 screws and 1 cage, all made of titanium plate. But the love for badminton and her strong determination is keeping her alive. She joined the Para-Badminton in 2014 and became the national ‘Para-Badminton’ champion in 2015.

Arnab Mitra: You are in sports with an artificial support. What drives you?

Baishakhi Deb: I love the game. At the age of six, I first got my racket as a birthday gift from my father. After that ill-fated day of the accident, I had lost every spirit of my life but when I won the national ‘Para-Badminton’ championship this year, I finally realized the true essence of my life. Badminton is one of my true friends and I want to live my life with it.

AM: Who is your coach for the game?

Baishakhi Deb: I am preparing under best national Para-Badminton coaches, Anand Kumar in Bangalore and Bimal Poddar in Kolkata.

AM: You are going to participate in ‘World Championship’ in Indonesia and England. What are your expectations?

Baishakhi Deb: I am confident to get the title in both of these events. Also, I have to make a good start in Indonesia as my career depends a lot on that competition. If I fail there, I will not get sponsorship for the England tour. The Rotary club is sponsoring me for my Indonesia tour.


AM: Are you getting any support from West Bengal government?

Baishakhi Deb: No. I appealed to the then sports minister Madan Mitra to help me but I didn’t get any response from them. Recently, I had a talk with Karnataka government. If I don’t get any positive assurance from West Bengal, I will play under Karnataka.

AM: Tell me more about that accident?

Baishakhi Deb: We were on the way to our office on the early morning of August 27, 2006. Suddenly our driver started competing with another car and before we could comprehend anything, it hit the bumper. What makes me sad is that the tragedy happened one month before I was going to be married.

AM:Rash Driving’! Why didn’t you complain against the driver?

Baishakhi Deb: After the accident, I filed an FIR against the driver Sikhander Ram. But till now, he has not been arrested and the company gave him the required shelter. He is now living freely in Topsia.

AM: Did your company, Aegis BPO pay for your treatment?

Baishakhi Deb: No, they didn’t even give my insurance money and mediclaim.

AM: Your body was totally fractured. How did you recover? Who is the man behind your new life?

Baishakhi Deb: In one word, it is a miracle thanks to the Orthopedist Doctor, Aloy Jyoti Kundu. I will never forget his contribution in my new life. I was really upset when the doctors from Vellore refused to handle my case. Maybe it was my good luck that I got in touch with Doctor Kundu and his treatment gave me a new life.

AM: Didn’t you get any support from government at that time?

Baishakhi Deb: No, but the present government has helped us a lot. Our local MLA Doctor Manish Gupta arranged for everything when I was on bed at Nil Ratan Sircar Hospital. Also, I want to thank the local counselor Bappaditya Dasgupta for his enormous help.

AM: You will have to leave badminton after a certain age. Any plans for future?

Baishakhi Deb: I want to see myself as a coach after I will retire from my professional arena.

Here is a link of Baisakhi Deb practising in Ambedkar Stadium, Bangalore: VID_20150507_102609

  • She really is an inspiration for anyone who gives up on their passion!
    But what is sad is that she neither got any support from the government nor from her own company!!
    But she will make it despite the challenges, because she definitely is a fighter!

  • She really is an inspiration for anyone who gives up on their passion!
    But what is sad is that she neither got any support from the government nor from her own company!!
    But she will make it despite the challenges, because she definitely is a fighter!

Next Story

Pullela Gopichand: The man behind India’s rise in Badminton World

The amazing run of P.V. Sindhu at the Rio Olympics has brought the focus on her celebrated coach and his academy

(Representational Image) Badminton. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

HYDERABAD, August 20, 2016: If there is one person and one academy which helped India produce world-class shuttlers or champions and emerge as a badminton hotbed, it’s none other than Pullela Gopichand and his badminton academy here, in Hyderabad.

Sixteen years after his heart-breaking defeat at the Sydney Olympics, Gopichand came close to realising his Olympic dream, albeit in a different role.

The amazing run of P.V. Sindhu at the Rio Olympics has brought the focus on her celebrated coach and his academy here.

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Sindhu, who created history by bagging silver in the women’s singles event, is one of the products of Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy.

Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Sindhu is the second woman shuttler after Saina Nehwal to take the badminton world by storm and bring laurels to the academy set up by former All England Open Champion.

Analysts say the credit of turning India into a formidable force in the world of badminton goes to the 42-year-old, who has groomed world-class talents.

Srikanth Kidambi, Parupalli Kashyap, Prannoy Kumar, Arundhati Pantawane, Gurusai Datt and Arun Vishnu are other products of his academy who have made it big in the game.

Gopichand always had dreams of producing Olympic medallists. His efforts started yielding results with Saina bagging bronze in the 2012 London Olympics.

She became the first Indian woman shuttler to achieve the feat. Four years later, Gopichand’s dream again came true with Sindhu reaching the final and losing there only to World No.1 Carolina Marin.

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Gopi spotted talent in Sindhu when she started training at the academy at the age of 10.

The academy set up in 2008, with an eight-court badminton hall, is rated one of the best in Asia.

Gopi has proved what a turnaround a good institution can provide. He not only mobilised funds and created world-class infrastructure but identified and groomed those talents.

Players narrate how he involves himself in training them and improving their technique.

“Sometime I feel bad that inspite being down with cold and fever, he comes to the academy to train Sindhu and other players,” said Sindhu’s father P.V. Ramana, a former volleyball player.

In 2001, Gopi won the All England Open Championship to become only the second Indian after Prakash Padukone to lift the title. He admitted that the win came a bit late in his career.

Injuries forced Gopi to go for an early retirement but he decided to don the role of a coach and create a world class infrastructure to fill the vacuum.

The then government of united Andhra Pradesh allotted five acres of land to Gopichand in Gachibowli to set up an international badminton academy. Surrounded by campuses of several IT majors, it started functioning in 2008.

In March this year, Gopichand opened the second academy in the same area. Known as SportsAuthority of India (SAI)-Gopichand Academy, it has nine courts and can accommodate 60 trainees.

The twin academies together have 17 courts and can train 130 players. However, this is not sufficient to meet the huge demand, which picked up during the last five years.

Looking for talent across the country, Gopi set up academies in Gwalior, Vadodara, Tanuka (Andhra Pradesh) and Salem (Tamil Nadu). He also plans to open more including one in Greater Noida. (IANS)