Surat: Due to injury, he chose table tennis instead of cricket, now Manush Shah of Gujarat is making a splash in the National Games.

Manush Shah is playing along with his two other teammates Harmeet Desai and Manav Thakkar in the ongoing 36th National Games in Gujarat. But if you ask anyone on the table tennis circuit, they will say that he is a skilled table tennis player on any circuit and has variety in his stroke play. Shah has also proved it by reaching the semi-finals of all the three individual events and now his four medals are confirmed. After confirming medals in mixed doubles and men’s doubles, we had a conversation with Manush.

Question: How do you feel about playing in the national games at home?

Answer: It is a matter of great pride for me that I am participating in the National Games organized by Gujarat. I won a gold medal in an event which is the first of the four events I participated in. I am also participating in singles, doubles and mixed doubles here. Initially, it was a bit busy for me as I had back-to-back matches but now I have adjusted to the conditions. I have reached the semi-finals of two doubles events and hope to win a gold medal in both. I am also part of the Indian team that is going to China next week for the World Team Championships.

Question: How did you start playing the game of table tennis and how did you get there?

Answer: When I was in second grade, I fell on an iron rod and one of my kidneys got damaged. I used to love playing cricket earlier. But after the injury, doctors advised me not to play any outdoor sports like cricket, football, hockey, athletics. We went on a family trip after we recovered and my father and I started playing table tennis for fun. There my father told me that if I was interested I could start playing table tennis. After returning to Baroda, I joined an academy and after 8 months I participated in my first district level tournament.

Question: What do your parents expect from you and your sport?

Answer: Every parent wants the best for their child and wants them to be successful. My parents also want me to win medals for the state as well as the country.

Question: How is the government supporting you in this journey?

Answer: From the beginning of my career, the government has been very helpful. I am part of state government’s Shaktidoot scheme under which they provide financial assistance to sportspersons. Also, the central government had started TOPS scheme under which they provide financial, technical and health related assistance.

Question: Have you got a chance to meet Kohli? And how was your experience?

Answer: I am supported by Virat Kohli Foundation. Luckily, I got a chance to interact with him personally. We had a very fruitful conversation. There are similarities between us as a player, as both of us are aggressive while playing. He told me how he deals with his aggression while on the field which helped me a lot as a player.

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