Sports

Tulika Jadhao: Overcoming Challenges, Aiming For Glory At Khelo India Para Games

Tulika, diagnosed with cerebral palsy, showed determination as she won in the quarterfinals of women's singles in the SL3 category, defeating Poornima Pandey of Uttar Pradesh 21-6, 21-4 in straight sets

Tulika Jadhao
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The inaugural day of the Khelo India Para Games saw the captivating spirit of young athletes, with 15-year-old Tulika Jadhao from Buldana, Maharashtra, making a remarkable entrance into the badminton arena at the iconic Indira Gandhi Stadium in New Delhi. (Badminton News)

Tulika, diagnosed with cerebral palsy, showed determination as she won in the quarterfinals of women's singles in the SL3 category, defeating Poornima Pandey of Uttar Pradesh 21-6, 21-4 in straight sets. Despite facing daily challenges due to her condition, Tulika's passion for badminton is evident as she aspires to follow in the inspiring footsteps of Paralympians Phalak Joshi and Pramod Bhagat.

"I started playing badminton just for fun in 2018, but watching the Tokyo Paralympics filled me with awe. I want to become like them one day," Tulika expressed. Playing in the SL3 category poses unique challenges, given her limited mobility on the right side and a visual impairment that requires her to play with spectacles.

Yet, badminton has become more than just a sport for Tulika — it has given her a new identity. "Taking up badminton, I feel like I can make a new identity for myself. Many of my friends and family are already very excited for me," she shared.

Determined to represent India, Tulika relocated to Lucknow for specialised training under Gaurav Khanna. She finds strength in the diverse community of athletes with various challenges, fostering an environment that boosts confidence. "I feel all the more encouraged to develop as a player," she emphasised.

Participating in the Khelo India Para Games marks a significant step forward for Tulika. "It's a great platform for young people like me to embrace whatever challenge they may have and move forward," she concluded.

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