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Kiran Rijiju promises support to wheelchair tennis player Madhusudan for 2020 Paralympics

Wheelchair tennis player Madhusudan H's hopes of winning a gold in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics have renewed following Minister of State for Youth and Sports Affairs Kiren Rijiju promising him support for the big event.

"My best wishes as well as all the necessary support". This tweet from Minister of State Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju has raised wheelchair tennis champion Madhusudan H's hopes of winning a gold medal in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

Rijiju said this in response to a news story on the 24-year-old's phenomenal successes on the tennis court following a railway accident where he lost his legs. Madhu, who is currently in Australia for the International Tennis Federation tournament starting 19 September, said he was happy to read the minister's comment. "I am happy to hear that. In fact we were looking to approach the minister on our return from Australia".

Madhu, who is based in Bengaluru, has many national and international championship wins to his credit. Pretty amazing for a guy who took no interest in tennis until his accident in 2001. He has taken part in five international tournaments across four countries, even winning a silver medal in the 2014 Bangkok Open Wheelchair Tennis tournament. He has also represented Karnataka in more than six national tournaments.

Speaking to NewzHook earlier, Madhu said he got hooked to the game after meeting senior players.

While attending a graphics designing class after class 10, I met some wheelchair tennis players who introduced me to the game. I got really inspired after watching them play, and they gave me detailed insights into the sport. I even became a regular in watching wheelchair tennis tournaments. - Madhusudan H, Wheelchair tennis player

Loving the game was easy, getting good at it was not. He would practice on weekends, commuting long distances from home to Cubbon Park, where the sessions were held. "I had to travel at least 18 km to the practice sessions and had to shell out least ₹ 400 on every auto trip just one way. It was a lot of expense for me given my meager income".

As a game, tennis is expensive too. Playing wheelchair tennis comes with its own set of challenges. "There are many tennis courts in Bengaluru, but none of them agree to take in wheelchair tennis players because they say wheelchair tires leave a mark on their grounds".

Madhu is supported by the NGO Bangalore Schools Sports Foundation, thanks to which he can practice regularly. It is his determination to excel that Shivaprasad S, Vice-captain, Indian Wheelchair Cricket Team, Madhu's mentor, calls his biggest strength. "I know Madhu for the last three years and he has a bright future as he is constantly keen to learn new things and improve his game".

Madhu's dream is to represent India in the Paralympics and Rijiju's promise brings it that much closer. "I want to stay positive, work hard and make it happen".

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