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Meet Malikaa Marathe, the girl who went from having partial eyesight to becoming first in tennis

Think Change India
posted on 24th April 2017
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Malikaa Marathe, who was partially blind for four years when she was a kid, is now ranked first in the All India Tennis Association (AITA) rankings for girls.

Growing up, Malikaa was like any other child her age, until she was affected by amblyopia or lazy eye. This is a condition where one has vision problems as a result of the brain and eye not working well together. She was affected by amblyopia in her right eye and to strengthen that eye, she had to wear a patch on her left eye according to The Frustrated Indian. She had to do this for four years, which means as part of the treatment she had very poor vision for those years.

Image: (L) – The Frustrated Indian; (R) – Sakal Times

For Malikaa it wasn’t easy. But she carried on undeterred with only one thing in her mind—to excel in her chosen field and become a world-class tennis player. Self-driven and self-motivated, she undergoes training with a determination that is beyond her age.

As a result, in 2017, she is ranked first in the U-14 All India Tennis Association (AITA) rankings for girls. Women entering and succeeding in the field of sports isn't the same as men because they have to break multiple barriers and fight a constant battle against social stigma.

Be it having to wear shorts or spend money on training, it isn't easy in a society where girl children are always seen as a burden and a liability. In a country like India, convincing a family to spend on a girl child is not even the most difficult part—according to the Youth Ki Awaaz, the Indian government's attitude towards any sport other than cricket is abysmal. This is even more the case when it comes to sports that women are involved in.

We all remember the case of Dipa Karmakar, who nearly did not participate in the Olympic Games because of a lack of funding. In such a scenario, girls like Malikaa act as a constant source of hope for others to emulate.

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