J.Jerlin Anika’s Journey Of Hustle, Hardships, and Hope That People Never Heard Of

People often think of success as a pretty occasion of owning it all. They beautify the spotlight, glam up the achievements and hide the dents and bents from the big picture. But somewhere between those moments of glory, only the ‘hero’ understands the toils and fatigue, break-downs and bleak. When 14-year-old  J. Jerlin Anika used to wake up at the crack of dawn, there wasn’t a pat on the back or everything will be ok session to console her thoughts. It was only her and her dreaming of making it big. 

Hardship is not subjective. Each one of us fights our way up, but all the roads are different and unique in their own sense. Hailing from Madurai in Tamil Nadu, she won two silver medals and a bronze at the 5th Asia Pacific Deaf Badminton Championship in Kuala Lumpur, making her one of the best players the country has ever seen. 

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The starry winner who received bronze in women’s doubles in the senior category, and silver in the doubles event and U-21 girls' category don’t miss a second of her day. Starting her day at 5 a.m in the morning, she practices for 6 hours at the badminton courts in Villapuram and Race Course Road. 

“My friends would play badminton every week and I would take Jerlin Anika along. One day, I realized that she did not notice when I called her. She was intently watching the game and seemed interested. This is when I approached the coach T. Saravanan, who said that he would readily coach her,” he said.

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The struggle can mean very different to different people. And for Anika, it meant only one thing, the ideal path to walk on for her dreams. She starts the day with 3 hours of workout, warms up her moves with few matches at the court and then would take a nap after lunch to get ready for another round of practice. “Till class 9, she would go to school and also manage badminton. This year, however, we have decided to focus on sports and have her homeschooled,” says her father.

Leading with 15th rank in India in the general category, her ambition and drive for the sport is unbelievable. “She participated in the Deaflympics in Turkey earlier this year and was placed 5. She began representing India only recently, but has created a mark,” said Mr. T. Saravanan, her coach. Aiming to perform at the World Junior Championships, her eyes are on the golden medallion. She wishes to beat the Chinese Taipei, one of the strongest contenders, leaping for another dream, another goal in her journey. 

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