Jaipur: Young paddler Mallika Bhandarkar got to know recently that she is suffering from a blood insulin disorder but the 2007 Under-12 world champion is determined not to get the ailment come in the way of her career.
Bhandarkar, a member of the Indian contingent in the ongoing 15th Asian Junior Championships here and considered one of the promising paddlers in the country, is suffering from hyperinsulinemia, a condition of excess insulin circulating in the blood.
Her ailment was detected recently but that was after the 14-year-old Maharashtra girl fetched a number of national as well as international honours, including Under-12 World Group Championship in China in 2007.
“When she came to me a few days back, I sensed something wrong with her metabolic system. Although her parents were not aware of this but tests found her to be a hyperinsulinemic,” Sports Authority of India (SAI) coach V K Agarwal told reporters.
“But her game-sense and ball control are amazing, as a paddler she is too good. I have advised her to work hard and lose weight and she has already succeeded in shedding a few kilos,” Agarwal added.
The youngster is determined to leave her illness behind and improve her performance.
“I never had any pressure. I feel quite normal and aim to reach higher. I have been working hard and have shed more than five to six kilos,” Bhandarkar said.
“Being hyperinsulinemic, I can’t take any injection. I have to be very careful about my diet and follow the daily routine prepared by my trainers,” she added.
After taking up the game at a young age of five, Bhandarkar, a student of Modern High School in Nagpur, shone in the district level within two years. Soon she made it to the Maharashtra state team. She won the state championship in cadet category at the age of nine.
“Playing against the odds inspires you more than anything else and Mallika is example of that. She can be a very good paddler if she becomes a bit fitter,” Maharashtra coach Sunil Babras said.
“Such players have to be nurtured carefully. Table Tennis is a sport which involves a lot of quick movements, it is a sport for the fastest and fittest. She will require more of these qualities,” he added.