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Silver finish after Achilles snap
Sports Reporter | Friday, 17 February 2017 AT 09:34 AM IST
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PUNE: It is common for sportspersons to suffer injuries to their Achilles heel, and shuttler Sanyogita Ghorpade was no different.

But what this Kolhapur girl suffered during a normal training day shook her upside down. But her grit to return to action and finish runner-up in her first senior national championship after recovering from crippling injury is a story worth a read.

There is no explanation to why her Achilles heel snapped that January day during a training session at Balewadi Sports Complex.

“I could hear something snapped in my body, my left leg. It was so loud that my opponent thought that something had broken on the court, and I told her that it was my leg. It was a full rupture and then I had to be stretchered out and operated on,” Sanyogita narrated the incident.

From then on it was a fight to get fit and be competition ready, against all odds. There were occasions when Sanyogita defied her doctors and overdid her exercise regime to gain muscles she had lost during surgery.

“That was the worst injury for any sportsperson. I started walking after four months and it was really difficult. With my physio sessions still going on I started doing my workouts as well. I did not want to get cut off from badminton totally so I did whatever made me feel good,” explained Sanyogita, who utilized the time she had to do M Com, some sketching and guitar lessons.

It all paid off almost a year later as the Pune-based Sanyogita won a silver medal in the women’s doubles event at the 81st Senior National Badminton Championship in Patna.

Speaking to Sakal Times on return from Patna, Sanyogita narrated her journey after double injuries almost threatened to spike her career.

“In January 2015 in Kochi at the National Games, I was on match point and I twisted my knee. I could feel it breaking. My knee went to one side and ankle went to one side. I was on the stretcher even on the flight. I had to concede because I could not stand. I came back the next day and had to get operated. I needed eight months to recover.

When she began playing in October that year she made it to the semi-finals of women’s doubles in an event in Pune and then went to Bangladesh where she won a bronze. Then there was an All-India Open in Bareilly, which she won on the last day of December.

“Till that time I was with the Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad. We all were given off days so we returned to our homes, but I wanted to keep on training,” Sanyogita said.

That’s when she suffered her second and critical injury. It was an uphill task then on, but the shuttler showed immense grit thanks to wholehearted support from Nikhil Kanetkar, who provided her everything that she needed to recover and get ready for competition.

Figuring as a wildcard entry at Patna, Sanyogita and Shikha made their statement by knocking out the No. 4 and No. 2 seeds en route the finals before losing to seasoned Aparna Balan and Prajakta Sawant, the third seeds.

“It is a great achievement. A much-needed one and me. I am happy that I am back on track. It has been a tough phase; I guess injuries are always challenging and frustrating to deal with as a professional athlete. Nevertheless, my run to the final, which involves a fantastic performance from my partner (Shikha) is just the right tonic to up my motivation and move on. I would also like to thank Nikhil Sir, and NKBA for helping me all through my need of support.”     

“When she came to NKBA she had overcome a knee injury and was disappointed as she did not have a doubles partner to play. What happened during practice was shocking and unfortunate. Harsh reality it was,” said Nikhil Kanetkar, Director and Coach NKBA.

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