Parul Gupta was born with hearing impairment, but she has managed to hear the beautiful melody of life through tennis. For the 17-year-old, who represented India at the 22nd Summer Deaf Olympics last year, and also has a team silver from the 2011 National School Games, the sport has become an integral part of her life. To say it in other words, her life revolves around tennis.
Having started her competitive career in 2010 through tournaments for normal kids, Parul has today many medals to her credit, won at different national championships for deaf players.
Besides that, Parul has that under-17 team silver from the National School Games. “Parul is very particular about her training schedule. She never misses her practice sessions, no matter what may come,” says Parul’s father Avinash Gupta.
It is this passion for the sport, and also two upcoming international tournaments, which have prompted t he youngster shift her base from hometown Patiala to Chandigarh.
Training at Gurvarinder Sahota’s Tennis Excellence Academy in Kharar, Parul will first take part in the 2nd Open Deaf Youth Tennis Cup to be held in Hamburg (Germany) from May 28 to June 1.
Her second assignment is the World Deaf Tennis Championships, to take place in Tennessee, USA, from July 14 to 19.
Parul was just six months old when her parents learnt about her disability, and more than anything else, they were worried about the future of their only child.
“The doctors at the Delhi AIIMS, who examined Parul, suggested putting her into tennis to make her self-dependant.
At the age of four, she started practising at coaching centres in Patiala and showed great interest in the sport,” relates the father, adding, “Initially, however, there was this big problem of communication gap.
It was hard to make her understand what the coach instructed. Naturally she took more time in learning the basics, and I also used to get irritated with her slowness sometimes. But Parul never lost heart.”
The girl, who studies in Class 12 at Scholar Fields Public School (Patiala), managed to learn the basics through gestures, and has gone from strength to strength since then.
Having started her competitive career in 2010 through tournaments for normal kids, Parul has today many medals to her credit, won at different national championships for deaf players. Besides that, she has that under17 team silver from the National School Games.
“At one point of time, we were apprehensive as to how our daughter would adjust to the coaching here in the face of her disability.
So, we even took her to Canada for a year in 2009 in hope of better training facilities and environment. However, financial problems forced us to come back. But the way Parul’s career has flourished here, we have nothing more to ask,” said Avinash.
There is, however, one thing that worries the father, who is employed Punjab State Power Corporation Limited.
“Tennis is an expensive sport, where even basics equipment like racquets, balls and shoes weigh heavy on pocket.
Then there are travelling expenses. We have tried our best to help Parul continue with her passion. But only good sponsorships can help her cover the extra mile.
I also hope Punjab government takes into view her achievements and assure her a job in the future.”