One look at Bombay International’s Jehan Daboo smashing the shuttle and rallying to victory on the badminton court, and it’s difficult to tell of his impairment.
That only comes to the fore during an interaction after his second round 21-1 win over Shnmitra Kamble in the Mumbai Schools Sports Association’s (MSSA) U-16 inter-school badminton tournament at the Cricket Club of India’s (CCI) courts yesterday.
The 15-year-old has been suffering from a loss of hearing since birth. But, instead of sitting and brooding over his misfortune, the teenager decided to get over it through sport. However, there were restrictions here too.
“I use a cochlear implant (an electronic hearing aid that provides a sense of sound in the inner ear) and was advised to stay away from contact sports like cricket and football, as there were chances of damaging the hearing aid. So, I decided to play badminton when I was nine as it was a relatively safer sport. And today, six years on, I think I have taken the right decision,” said the second seed here, who has achieved international glory too.
Jehan was selected to represent India in the open category for the third World Deaf Badminton Championship in November 2011, at Bucheon in South Korea and was even awarded for being the youngest player at the Championship. Then, in December 2011, Jehan became Maharashtra’s singles champion in the deaf category and also won the doubles title in the open juniors category at the state tournament in Jalgaon. However, the MSSA title has somehow eluded the lanky shuttler. He hoped to get his hands on it this time around though.
“I have been competing in MSSA for the last five years but have not been able to win the title. I hope I can turn the table this time around,” added Jehan, who speaks almost clearly now having been educated in the auditory verbal approach (sign language) with the help of the cochlear implant.
Meanwhile, Jehan will have fellow Mumbaikar Rajeev Bagga, now based in Britain, for inspiration. Bagga won the national championship in 1991 and 1992 and became the only deaf player to reach the main round of the All-England Championships. The Arjuna awardee won 12 golds and singles champion at the Deaflympics from 1989 to 2001.
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