Even a freak accident in 2005 that forced doctors to amputate his left leg has not stopped wheelchair tennis player Shekar Veeraswamy from bagging accolades at the national and international level.
In the Marina Open 2 that concluded on Saturday, Shekar defeated S Balachandar in the men’s singles final to clinch the title. He also won the men’s doubles crown with his partner Balachandar, completing a fruitful double.
“Sunil Jain sponsored me a new wheelchair worth four lakh and I was given permission to take part by my employer. I failed to win the (Marina Open) trophy last year. I am very happy to go one better this time,” said Shekar with a beaming smile on his face.
After getting introduced to the sport in 2010, the Bengaluru-based lad has gone on to represent the country in Malaysia and Thailand, where he finished in the top three spots. Shekar is working as a coach at the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association for a salary of only Rs 9,000. He lives with his wife, mother and three children and is in financial distress.
The 30-year-old is confident of going a few rungs higher, but states that it is possible only with help of monetary assistance. “I was sponsored by the KSLTA for my overseas trips. Now, Sunil Sir has come forward to support me. To achieve a good ranking internationally, one will have to take part in at least 14 tournaments across the world. It would be great if I receive some support from the government,” he said.
“I earn about Rs 9,000 per month, which is certainly not enough in this modern world. Only cash prizes from different events help me take care of my family,” he added. His brother, Munnuswamy, was a great pillar of support. “My brother helped me handle them well until 2014 and unfortunately he passed away that year. I am still not able to fill the void left by him,” he added.
But, he will have something to cheer in the immediate present as he is richer by Rs 20,500, his reward for his triumph in the singles and doubles categories of Marina Open 2.