“I was really impressed by the way she was anticipating the ball and changing directions. She has very good strokes too,” said Olympian and Asian Games Silver Medalist, of Bhavani’s game, after a hit at Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium in Hyderabad.
For the 17 year old Bhavani, life has been challenging, but she’s embraced it with umpteen courage. She’s been training for 8-9 years now and recently represented India at the World Deaf Tennis Championships in Antalya, Turkey. Bhavani is deaf and has impaired vision.
When asked why they chose tennis, her father, Neeraj Kedia, said – “When she was young and fell down, she didn’t cry or make a fuss about things. We took this as a sign of strength and decided that she can do something big. With the physical limitations, her dad felt it was important to pursue something outside of academics.”
“Vishnu(Vardhan) was really encouraging and when most others didn’t believe, he even hit with her,”, said Mr. Kedia, feeling warmth from senior Indian players.
“Ankita Raina was also very sweet and gave tips to bhavani during one
of the tournament. Senior players are all empathetic to the situation and are helpful.”
While Bhavani has started to show results on court, funding still remains a challenge.
“We have been entirely by ourself so far. Spent more than 1.5 lakh in the last 2-3 months on hitting partners and coaching. Will be great to get support from the government(as #1 ranked player). School is encouraging but financial support would be great from any source,” Mr. Kedia says, as he signs off.