A Slice Of Life


TT player Sanil Shetty shares his jour­ney of bat­tling a heart dis­ease


“I was born a pre­ma­ture baby, and ap­par­ently, as a new-born, I would turn mo­tion­less and be breath­less all the time and that’s when my par­ents re­alised some­thing was wrong. I was di­ag­nosed with a heart dis­ease (hole in my heart), and see­ing my se­ri­ous con­di­tion, the doc­tors said I wouldn’t sur­vive longer than eight months. Some doc­tors sug­gested surgery but didn’t give any hope of sur­vival. My par­ents kept seek­ing dif­fer­ent med­i­cal opin­ions but in vain... “Their quest to seek proper treat­ment took them to home­opa­thy doc­tors who fi­nally gave them hope. And my home­opa­thy treat­ment started right away and my body started re­spond­ing well to it too. The treat­ment lasted for eight years.”


“My child­hood, how­ever, was a re­ally dif­fi­cult one, at least that’s what I al­ways heard from my mother. Get­ting out of breath used to hap­pen very fre­quently. I was not al­lowed to play with heavy toys, do any out­door ac­tiv­i­ties or even visit the gar­den. I couldn’t walk the stair­case of my school and had a care­taker carry me up and down the stairs. My desk was put up next to my teacher so that no kid would ac­ci­den­tally harm me. Some­times, my health con­di­tion af­fected my aca­demic sched­ules too, though I was a good stu­dent aca­dem­i­cally.”


“I was a pretty chubby kid as I hardly did any phys­i­cal or fit­ness ac­tiv­ity. But slowly, as I grew up, along with my home­opa­thy treat­ment, I started run­ning and jump­ing to keep myself fit. These ac­tiv­i­ties helped re­duce my breath­less­ness. “Then one day, my brother (who is a TT coach now) came home with a univer­sity tro­phy in table ten­nis. Look­ing at him, I also felt like hold­ing a tro­phy in my hand. I told my brother even I want to play table ten­nis. Ini­tially, my mother re­sisted but later I was al­lowed to join a TT club. The coach there no­ticed my ef­forts and started fo­cus­ing on me and that is how my table ten­nis jour­ney started... “Luck­ily, my doc­tors agreed to my wish of get­ting into sports and said ath­let­ics may also con­trib­ute to my fit­ness. Rightly so, with ath­let­ics and play­ing table ten­nis, I was get­ting fit­ter by the day. In fact, I was ac­tu­ally cured of my heart con­di­tion, and was to­tally fine. The only thing I was asked to avoid was high choles­terol food and was also re­stricted from hav­ing any meat. My diet in­cluded more of veg­gies, lentils, raagi etc.”


“In 1999, I won my first ti­tle at the district level when I was just 10 years old. That mo­ment when your name was called out on the podium and peo­ple around you chant and shout your name and ap­plaud you for your per­for­mance was un­de­scrib­ably spe­cial. There­after, I won quite a few state and na­tional cham­pi­onships. I am cur­rently ranked at no six on the In­dian cir­cuit and no 83, in­ter­na­tion­ally.”

“With ath­let­ics and play­ing table ten­nis, I was get­ting fit­ter by the day. In fact, I was ac­tu­ally cured of my heart con­di­tion, and was to­tally fine.”


“My Com­mon Wealth Games 2018 train­ing started soon af­ter I came back dis­ap­pointed from the last CWG edi­tion with­out any medals. Af­ter train­ing for two months in Por­tu­gal, I did three pro-tours which boosted my con­fi­dence. I did six hours of prac­tice on the table and two hours off-table since Jan­uary. So now I feel happy to have bagged two medals (gold and bronze) which shows that hard work never goes in vain.”


“I have known Reeth Rishya for a cou­ple of years now. She her­self is a table ten­nis player and has been two times na­tional cham­pion. Ini­tially, we were best friends but soon I re­al­ized that ev­ery­thing around us was per­fect. So I took a step ahead and pro­posed her and she said ‘yes’! And my life took an amaz­ing turn per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally since the time she came in my life. We got en­gaged on Jan­uary 25th this year and plan to get hitched by the year end. “This CWG win is by far the most mem­o­rable tour­na­ment of my life as it was my par­ents’ dream to see the In­dian flag be­ing hoisted and hear the na­tional an­them when I won a medal.”

“My life took an amaz­ing turn per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally since the time Reeth Rishya came in my life. We got en­gaged and plan to get hitched by this year end.”

Li’l Sanil

His par­ents

With coach brother

With an­cee Reeth Rishya

At the CWG 2018 win

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